1. Getting the NRA’s massacre playbook:
In the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut, massacre, we’ve been reading a lot about school lockdowns and other emergency drills. Here’s an idea for some original reporting about a different kind of emergency drill: Reporters ought to get sources inside the National Rifle Association, or people who deal with the organization, to reveal the playbook the NRA must have developed by now to make sure the group can swing into action whenever there’s an outbreak of mass gun carnage.
Is there an email or phone list in place so that the first crisis team conference call can be convened quickly? Who’s on it in addition to NRA staff? Gun company executives? Lobbyists? Pollsters? PR people?
Is there a set script for the initial comment (such as “Now is not the time to talk politics”) followed by a sequenced set of later responses? How does the response evolve from the first days into the first week and then the second? Who is designated to make decisions about when to start responding to press inquiries and whether to do the Sunday talk shows, who should be the spokespeople and what the talking points should be?
Are staffers on standby to connect “grassroots” gun rights adherents with the media – and is there a list of them for all 50 states so that the response can be local no matter where the next slaughter is?
Who is assigned to do the research to make the case that new gun laws wouldn’t have made a difference in this case, or that if more people were armed the bad guy never could have gotten away with it? Are there templated responses at the ready for shopping mall killings versus school killings?