A gunman opened fire at Capital Gazette in Annapolis on Thursday – killing five people and injuring others in what police have branded a “targeted attack”.
Staff at the local paper said the attacker, armed with a shotgun and smoke grenades, shot through a glass door into the newsroom in what is being deemed one of the deadliest attacks on a US media publication in history.
And remarks Ms Loesch – a conservative political activist and TV host - made advocating violence against journalists in 2016 quickly resurfaced in the wake of the killings at the Capital Gazette offices in Annapolis.
Shaun King, a civil rights activist and writer, shared an old clip of Ms Loesch berating journalists on Twitter in the wake of the Maryland tragedy.
“1. Let's be clear here. The NRA's @DLoesch has absolutely called for journalists to be beaten to death,” Mr King said on Twitter alongside a clip of her on NRATV.
“She denies it, but the record is clear. It's just that she's so flippant with such violent threats that she has perhaps lost touch with what she has said.”
Ms Loesch, who is a spokesperson for the largest gun lobbying group in the US, said: “I’m happy frankly to see them curb-stomped. I mean let's be real about it.”
“These people are just the worst thing that could ever possibly happen to the American political system right now with the way that they cover so many things. Nobody gets a fair shake on policy, no one gets a fair shake where it concerns immigration. They conflate illegal and legal immigration.
“They conflate a number of things – particularly the coverage on gun control. I have so many things that I hate about mainstream media, there is no way we are going to fit it in the allotted time today. They are the rat bastards of the earth. They are the boil on the backside of American politics.”
Ms Loesch, who has had stints at far right publication Breitbart, has denied making the remarks and hit back at Mr King on Twitter.
“You’re a ghoul attempting to blame me for this psycho who took his obsession out on a newspaper staff,” she said.
Ms Loesch’s career has been dominated by controversy – during a 2012 radio show she said she had no problems with US Marines who had urinated on dead Taliban soldiers, declaring: “I’d drop trou and do it too.”
The face of the NRA, she was forced to fight off criticism in the wake of the Florida school shooting when the group faced the greatest pressure from gun control campaigners for a generation.
In the days since 17 people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland in February, the group which lobbies on behalf of gun rights campaigners and weapons manufacturers was fiercely scrutinised over its donations to politicians and reluctance to compromise.
The NRA released a video containing a threatening message to journalists warning them "your time is running out" in March. In a video posted on Twitter by NRATV, Ms Loesch tells “every lying member of the media” that they have “had enough”.
Set to a backing track of ominous-sounding guitar music, she appears on screen dressed in black with an hourglass by her side.
“We have had enough of the lies, the sanctimony, the arrogance, the hatred, the pettiness, the fake news. We are done with your agenda to undermine voters' will and individual liberty in America.”
“So to every lying member of the media, to every Hollywood phoney, to the role model athletes who use their free speech to alter and undermine what our flag represents.
"To the politicians who would rather watch America burn than lose one ounce of their own personal power, to the late night posts that think their opinion is the only opinions that matter.
“To the Joy-Ann Reids, the Morning Joes, the Mikas. To those who stain honest reporting with partisanship. To those who bring bias and propaganda to CNN, The Washington Post and The New York Times… your time is running out. The clock starts now."
Ms Loesch, who wrote Hands off my Gun: Defeating the Plot to Disarm America, then turns over the sand timer before the screen fades to black and a message appears promoting Loesch’s new show on NRATV.
Many people on Twitter hit back at the clip – saying the message made them “feel threatened”.
Ms Loesch, who co-founded the St Louis Tea Party, has previously said she keeps a handgun near her bed and has a tattoo on her forearm with a reference to a Bible passage calling for Christians to wear holy armour.
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