At 5:07 p.m. ET, journalist Yashar Ali tweeted “WATCH: New NRA ad: ‘We’re going to fist the NYT and find out just what deep rich means to this old gray hag.'” He embedded a video that the NRA released via Twitter on Thursday — a video that is actually an excerpt from an NRA “Commentators” video orginally released on YouTube and NRATV.com in April.
The phrase in question comes at the 0:28 mark:
.@DLoesch has a message for the @nytimes: “We’re coming for you.” One
non-#fakenews story is not enough. #NRA #ClenchedFistofTruth pic.twitter.com/Hm1QkJi5Tp
— NRATV (@NRATV) August 3, 2017
Some people initially weren’t sure what the hell they were hearing, including HuffPost reporter Eliot Nelson:
I just strongly argued that she says “frisk” and my colleagues convinced me that she wants to, in fact, “fist” the New York Times.
— Eliot Nelson (@eliotnelson) August 4, 2017
But lots of people definitely thought they heard “fist” …
Um… this is disturbing… https://t.co/RhDajg630W
— Raw Story (@RawStory) August 4, 2017
But David A. Graham of The Atlantic saved the day! He shared what he heard, along with a link to a Wikipedia entry about the English journalist Robert Fisk.
She’s saying fisk, y’all. Fisk. https://t.co/JKIpcvozlV https://t.co/PaQ8Y7rtTy
— David A. Graham (@GrahamDavidA) August 4, 2017
The relevant portion of Fisk’s Wikipedia entry:
Fisking is a blogosphere slang describing a point-by-point criticism that highlights perceived errors, or disputes the analysis in a statement, article, or essay. The term originated from various blogs which have taken particular issue with Fisk’s views. Many of these bloggers have responded by reprinting his dispatches on their blogs, adding their own paragraph-by-paragraph commentary, dissecting and claiming to debunk Fisk’s assertions and opinions. According to The Guardian, “fisking” has come to denote the practice of “savaging an argument and scattering the tattered remnants to the four corners of the internet.”
Then Dana Loesch, the star of the NRA video, tweeted this in response to Ali’s tweet:
Not at all what I said, you hack. I said “fisk.” Nice that you didn’t even ask me about this before launching your despicable smear. https://t.co/yUvG2SF3r8
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) August 4, 2017
And then Ali, who deleted his earlier “fist” tweet, tweeted this:
Nice – Literally everyone on here thinks you said “fist” and the NRA tweet says #ClenchedFistOfTruth – This is my fault somehow? https://t.co/l2zNYrLoT3
— Yashar Ali (@yashar) August 4, 2017
And everyone lived unhappily ever after.
It’s worth noting here that Dana Loesch has been carving out a niche for herself as something of a professional video-ready internet troll. On June 30 in the Ad Age morning media roundup, I briefly mentioned (and embedded) an earlier Loesch video (item No. 5) that is, believe it or not, even more inflammatory than the anti-NYT video.
(Also, on July 18: “Now It’s the NRA vs. The Washington Post” — though sorry, Dana Loesch fans, she’s not in that one.)
Loesch’s Twiter bio, by the way, reads “Nationally syndicated talk radio host; TV commentator; author; #NRASpokesperson. God, family, guns. Born for the storm.”
And this is her Twitter photo.
Simon Dumenco, aka Media Guy, is an Ad Age editor-at-large. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.