Steve Rinella’s TV show MeatEater has come under fire from the right-leaning publication, The Federalist. I have been a huge fan of Steve’s show along with his podcast, and the accusations on the surface seem pretty troubling, so I want to vet them and see if they hold any merit.
The main focus of the accusations focuses on an investor who acquired a controlling interest in the show, The Chernin Group, The Federalist describes this group as “A California-based investment fund run by wealthy Democratic activist and Hollywood producer Peter Chernin.”
The premise of the accusation is summed up here.
The left-wing, anti-gun political activism of MeatEater’s largest investor, as well as political commentary and activity from some of its key partners and sponsors, complicates the company’s expansion plans given that such a large percentage of hunters in the United States — who comprise MeatEater’s core audience — staunchly support both gun rights and Republican political candidates.
Basically, they call out three parts that they find troubling, the investor, some of the political dialog from the podcast and the show’s association with Back Country Hunter’s and Anglers(BHA). Let’s take a look at each of these points and see if they hold merit.
Let us work backward starting with MeatEater’s association with BHA. The main issue the Federalist has with this group is that they supported Democrat Jom Tester during the last election along with what they describe as of environmental activism.
A majority of their criticism at the beginning of the Federalist’s article focuses on gun control. When it comes to BHA it shifts gears and equates the group’s advocacy for public lands and its opposition to a lot of projects proposed by the oil, gas and mining industry to gun control which is not a fair comparison.
The article cites data from the Environmental Policy Alliance (EPA). I believe their position should be taken with a grain of salt, they are not a pro-hunting group but a front group for the oil and gas industry that wants to paint all groups that oppose development as extreme left wing.
Based on my research into the group, I have found nothing that would lead me that they are not who they claim to be, a group of hunters and anglers that support hunting, fishing, public land, and conservation. They are definitely not anti-gun, for example, the VP of Sales for Kimber, Ryan Busse is their Chairman of the Board.
This brings us to point number two. Some of the political dialog on the podcast, most notably from MeatEater’s Editorial Director Ben O’Brien. The federalist takes issue with O’Brian’s and BHA’s support for Democrat Jon Tester during the 2018 election.
“I found him to be credible and believable,” O’Brien said during the podcast. “I found Senator Tester to be credible, and to be pragmatic, and a straightforward dude.”
I believe both BHA and O’Brien followed a simple formula when deciding who to support. Sen. Tester is pro-gun and pro-public lands. His opponant Matt Rosendale is pro-gun, but not a supporter of public lands. This seems to be the deciding factor in their support, not a straight party ticket vote.
The Federalist also laments that the podcast did not have Testor’s opponent on. I do not know if it was because there was no invitation or that Rosendale declined the invitation. What I do know is that the podcast has had Republican representation. There are episodes featuring former Governor of Wyoming Matt Meade and Senator Rob Bishop from Utah. They have definitely given equal space to both sides of the aisle.
As for the clearly anti-gun investor, all I can say is that I have not seen or heard anything on the TV show, podcast, or written in the MeatEater Blog that would lead me to believe that he is inserting his anti-gun views into any of the content. Until he does I will continue to stand behind and support Steve Rinella and Meat Eater.
Rinella is non-political; he does not prescribe to a republican or democrat label. He has stated on many occasions that he is part of the Hunting and Fishing party. If a candidate or policy supports hunting and conservation that is what he supports.
I would take the article from The Federalist with a grain of salt and do your own research. MeatEater and Steve Rinella are on the side of hunters. They are doing more to broaden the base of hunting and reaching across to non-hunters and winning their support. Hunters should continue their support because it definitely helps us more then it hurts us.