Sportsman Channel

The NRA's strange private equity bedfellow

January 17, 2013: 3:21 PM ET

nra_ad1One of President Obama's Wall Street supporters is doing business with one of his loudest antagonists.

FORTUNE -- The National Rifle Association this week released a video ad accusing President Obama of being an elitist hypocrite, for opposing armed guards at school when his daughters have such protection.

Before continuing, two points of order:

  1. 1. Obama actually issued an executive order yesterday that would "provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers" (a.k.a. police officers).
  2. 2. Obama's kids actually have personalized security details, not just an off-duty cop hanging out in one of a dozen hallways. And they're not just in school. So apparently the NRA really wants taxpayers to fund personalized security details for all children, and possibly have them all live in publicly-subsidized mansions. You know, if it wants to be consistent.

Okay, so why am I writing about this at Term Sheet?

Well it seems that the NRA only paid to have the ad run on something called the Sportsman Channel, even though it obviously received free airtime elsewhere. Sportsman Channel is a national cable net that not only runs NRA ads, but also is rolling out a pair of NRA-produced programs (including one that stars Ted Nugent).

Sportsman Channel is owned by private equity firm InterMedia Partners, via a platform that also includes such brands as magazine Guns & Ammo and RifleShooter. And InterMedia Partners is led by Leo Hindery, a longtime Democratic Party activist who has served as an economic and trade advisor to President Obama (although he supported John Edwards back in 2008).

Hindery partner Peter Kern, who sits on the board of Sportsman Channel's parent company, also is a longtime Democratic Party donor, while InterMedia's executive advisory board has been chaired by former Senator Tom Daschle.

Now maybe Hindery and Obama simply share common economic philosophies but differ on gun control. Or maybe Hindery is able to draw a bright line between business and personal politics. Or maybe Hindery didn't give much thought any of this before Newton, kind of like California Teachers' Retirement System with its indirect investment in Freedom Group. At the very least, the NRA and Hindery seem to make for some very strange bedfellows.

I've reached out to InterMedia and Hindery for comment, but have not yet heard back.

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