MEDIA
04/12/2013 08:19 am ET Updated Jun 12, 2013

Chris Murphy Asks Rupert Murdoch Not To Air 'NRA 500' NASCAR Race

Connecticut senator Chris Murphy is calling on Rupert Murdoch to cancel the broadcast of a NASCAR race sponsored by the NRA.

The "NRA 500" is set to take place on Saturday, and Murdoch's Fox Sports is set to air it.

It's not the first time the gun lobby has sponsored a race, but it is the first such event to happen in the wake of the Newtown massacre in Murphy's home state.

A CNN article from March described some of the gun-themed elements of the races that take place at the Texas track where the competition is being held:

The winners of races at the track are often given two revolvers and a cowboy hat while taking photographs in victory lane. The fastest qualifier is awarded a shotgun.

Richard Childress, who owns several NASCAR teams, is a member of the NRA's board of directors.

Murdoch has himself called for stricter gun control laws several times over the past year, but his media properties have not always echoed him.

In his letter, Murphy, a Democrat, cited Murdoch's views on the issue and pleaded with him to cancel the broadcast:

I write today to urge you to not broadcast NASCAR's NRA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 13th. This race, which is being sponsored by the National Rifle Association (NRA), is going to take place during the Senate's consideration of legislation to reduce gun violence. The race not only brings national attention to an organization that has been the face of one side of this heated debate, it also features the live shooting of guns at the end of the race. This celebration of guns is inappropriate in the immediate wake of the Newtown massacre. But most importantly, broadcasting this race, which will highlight the NRA and its radical agenda during this time, sends a harmful signal to the families affected by gun violence, as well as the millions of Americans who support sensible gun control measures and enjoy your sports programming.

[...]

You should play a constructive role in our national dialogue by refraining from broadcasting the NRA 500. By airing this race you will be strengthening the brand of a radical organization that is currently standing in the way of meaningful progress on this issue.

[...]

Considering your support of sane gun control measures and the extreme nature of the NRA, I urge you to not broadcast this race on April 13th. Inserting Fox Sports in this debate at this critical time will give credence to an extreme organization that is opposed to reasonable policies to stem gun violence. Thank you in advance for your consideration.

(h/t CNN)

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