Remington Fires First Shot in Round Two of NBC War
by Jim Shepherd
In 2010, NBC News' "Dateline" ran a report purportedly telling the story of Remington's knowingly allowing their entire 700 series of bolt-action rifles to be sold despite knowing that the rifle's trigger system had a basic safety flaw. Essentially, "Dateline" reported Remington had knowingly sold more than five-million unsafe bolt action rifles, despite knowing - for decades- there were serious safety issues.
When that report aired, it caused quite a stir in the industry, and kicked off a massive response effort from Remington. As is common in an ever-shortening news cycle, the story was quickly forgotten.
Except, it seems, by NBC News.
Last night, I learned that promos for tonight's upcoming episode of "Rock Center with Brian Williams" promises yet another exclusive report into Remington and its allegedly faulty firearms.
As in 2010, CNBC Senior Correspondent Scott Cohn is the reporter, this time he's reportedly uncovering a story the Rock Center website proudly headlines: "Remington vehemently denies".
In the promotional clip for his latest investigation into Remington, (see it yourself at: http://rockcenter.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/04/10/11119192-remington-deni...), Senior Correspondent Cohn says Remington didn't just have problems with their 700 line of bolt guns.
Citing "engineer and firearms expert Tom Butters", Cohen now reports Remingon's problems with their trigger system extends to their Models 870 and 1000 shotguns.
There are more than 20 million of those shotguns in the marketplace, from family gun cases to the ready rooms of thousands of law enforcement and military facilities. That is a ton of potential liability in any situation; in the case of firearms, it presents a nearly incalculable potential liability exposure.
That's why Remington's 2012 response isn't technically a "response". Instead of reacting, Remington is firing back - before NBC's full-story has been aired.
"The over 20 million firearms NBC is attacking have been used for nearly 60 years by hunters, shooters, military and law enforcement and they have been time-tested under some of the harshest conditions known to man," says Wally McLallen, Vice Chairman of Freedom Group, Inc and Remington. "NBC has chosen once again to base their attack on the agendas of plaintiffs' attorneys and paid "experts" that have testified against more than a dozen of the biggest manufacturers, as opposed to the experience of tens of millions of sophisticated shooters and tens of billions of rounds."
Cohn's original report was based on conversations with "victims" of the Remington 700 rifle, and firearms "experts" whose primary expertise - even before any serious scrutiny - seemed to be testifying against Remington. In 2010, Remington put tremendous resources into rebutting the NBC report, including lengthy point-by-point rebuttals of each charge made in the report.
And, as Remington's spokesperson reminded me last evening, "NBC never bothered to respond."
Now, it seems Remington and Freedom Group, Inc. aren't expecting NBC to offer any response/rebuttal time. As it was explained to me last night, "We expect the same disregard for the facts and anti-gun sentiment to be repeated in the upcoming NBC story."
In Remington's decidedly-proactive response to this latest NBC report, they're pointing out an obvious truth: there are twenty million model 870 and 1100s out there. Collectively, they've fired billions of rounds, in hunting fields, on battlefields, and by law enforcement agencies around the world.
Trying to hide a major defect with that many guns in the hands of so many shooters with such varied levels of experience would be virtually impossible. Further, Remington offers "No litigation is pending against the trigger mechanisms of these firearms and only one lawsuit has been filed in the last seven years."
If you make any product, especially one with the potential to cause injury, you know some customers will operate them improperly. You also know lawsuits are a fact of today's business life.
From their response, it seems Remington's also making their case to their fellow manufacturers and the millions of shooters across the country that there's now another "given": an anti-gun bias.
"When contacted by NBC about this story," Remington's statement reads, "Remington provided the network with a vast amount of information about the true facts of these iconic American firearms and the so-called 'expert witnesses' employed by plaintiffs' attorneys."
"Given NBC's long standing relationship with plaintiffs' attorneys and their paid experts, Remington is not surprised that NBC has once again chosen to ignore the facts to push the Network's anti-gun agenda."
That "inherent bias" Remington says, is the reason they declined to participate in an on-camera interview.
Giving that interview, Remington claims, would have exposed Remington to NBC's "questionable editing processes."
In television news circles, those are fighting words.
For networks already scrambling to maintain credibility in an ever-changing information landscape, Remington's detailed rebuttal of NBC's Rock Center story might once again be ignored, or get a grudging acknowledgement worded so as to call the response it acknowledges into question. I'm comfortable offering that hypothetical because I've seen the technique used - effectively - innumerable times over more than thirty-five years in the news business.
But "questionable editing processes" demands a response. It will be interesting to see what NBC's response will be - or when. It may be as soon as this evening.
Republished from The Outdoor Wire.
Editor's Note: to get more on Remington's response to NBC's reporting, visit www.RespectRemington.tv.