Rodger Muller is an Australian man and reporter for Al Jazeera who embarked upon a multi-year undercover investigation of the NRA, which culminated in an exposé of the gun rights organization that was published on March 25.
The article is titled “I Went Undercover to Expose the U.S., Australia Gun Lobby.” The article opens with the following admission from Muller:
I’ve been living a double life for the past three years. As part of Al Jazeera’s elaborate infiltration of the United States‘ gun lobby, I assumed the role of a gun advocate, pretending to campaign for a repeal of Australia’s rigid, gun control laws, and pretending that I wanted more firearms in the hands of Australian citizens.
Muller uncovered the NRA’s public relations plan for responding to a mass shooting, which he called, “how to sell a massacre,” according to Al Jazeera. An NRA media liason briefed an Australian group that Muller had accompanied to D.C. on how to respond to a shooting.
“Offense, offense, offense, which is what the NRA does very well,” the NRA rep said. Another told Muller and the group they should smear gun control advocates after the shooting. “How dare you stand on the graves of those children to put forth your political agenda? Just shame them to the whole idea. It’s like if you, if your policy, isn’t good enough to stand on itself, how dare you use their deaths to push that forward,” the NRA rep said.
They also suggested ghostwriting pro-gun columns. “A lot of the times, we’ll write them for like a local sheriff in Wisconsin or whatever. They’ll submit it with their name on it so that it looks organic. You know, that it’s coming from that community. But we will have a role behind the scenes,” the NRA’s Catherine Mortensen told Muller, according to Al Jazeera.
“We want to print up stories about people who were robbed, had their homes invaded, beaten or whatever it might be and that could have been helped had they had a gun,” Lars Dalseide, from the NRA public relations team, told Muller. Mortensen added, “When you start talking about issues that become too complicated or make them think too hard, you’ve kind of lost it. You want something that they can get to, like the American flag. Oh, my gosh, we all get that one, that’s easy.”
Here’s what you need to know:
Muller Pretended to Be the Founder of ‘Gun Rights Australia’
As part of his undercover identity, Muller pretended to be the founder and president of an Australian organization called “Gun Rights Australia.”
Though much of the original website for the fake organization has since been scrubbed, an archived version of the website features a “quote” from Muller:
“As a country founded by convicts, Australians have always been told what to do and how to do it by the powers that be. It is time for us to finally break the shackles, step up and stand for our rights as responsible citizens to defend ourselves.”
Muller’s falsified bio on the site reads,
Rodger Muller is a man of action. A family man, a successful business man and rural property owner. Rodger values life and knows all too well Australians need to regain their right to protect and safeguard the values and the country we hold so dear. Rodger is a man of integrity and believes in taking matters into our own hands.
Muller Is Actually an Investigative Reporter for Al Jazeera
Muller’s “double life” over the last few years began in 2015, he revealed, when an executive producer for Al Jazeera asked him if he’d be interested in posing as the founder of a faux-Australian gun rights organization.
Muller agreed to the challenge, and began a long investigative journey — but it wasn’t always easy for him to keep his “lives” separate. He wrote for Al Jazeera,
I was a little nervous at first, but soon relaxed into my new role. As I made my way further into the gun lobby, I began to understand the depth of some US citizens’ passion for their cherished “Second Amendment” – the right to keep and bear arms.
Those around me at the NRA convention wore hats, T-shirts and badges, declaring their undying love for the “God-given right” to carry a weapon. It became very clear to me that, if I wanted to sound believable, I had to espouse those same passions.
…Many of [my friends and family] were astonished at my newfound passion for firearms. I brushed most queries off saying, ‘It’s a scary world out there. I’ve realised that guns can keep us all safe – so I’m campaigning for more guns here.’
But not everyone was happy with such explanations. On more than one occasion, strangers who had seen the Gun Rights Australia website confronted me on the street and berated me for trying to drag Australia’s gun laws in the direction of those in the US.
Muller Videotaped Members of One Nation Seeking Millions of Dollars of Political Donations from the NRA
In the video above, which was acquired by The Guardian via Al Jazeera, Muller recorded members of One Nation, a right-wing populist party in Australia, while they were allegedly discussing how to “rally [NRA] supporters within Australia.” At one point, James Ashby, a senior official of One Nation, says, “I’d love to get my hands on their software … [and] if they can help us with donations, super”.
Per The Guardian, Ashby also had a meeting with Muller in which he said that $10 million in funding for One Nation would help them “pick up eight Senate seats.”