Dana Loesch, the spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association, focused her ire on the news media in a combative and defiant speech on Thursday, in sharp contrast to the approach she took before an audience of gun violence survivors a day earlier.
In a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Oxon Hill, Md., Ms. Loesch accused the news media of ignoring the N.R.A.’s viewpoint and cashing in on the deaths of students.
“Many in legacy media love mass shootings,” Ms. Loesch said. “You guys love it. I’m not saying that you love the tragedy, but I am saying that you love the ratings. Crying white mothers are ratings gold.”
The gun lobbying organization, which went silent on its Twitter account for six days following the shooting that killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, has waded back into the national conversation over guns and school safety.
In his speech at the conference, Wayne LaPierre, the group’s president, slammed “the breakneck speed of calls for more gun control, and the breathless national media eager to smear the N.R.A.”
“As usual, the opportunists wasted not one second to exploit tragedy for political gain,” he said.
The remarks came one day after Ms. Loesch and Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, were heavily jeered at a CNN town hall-style meeting that was attended by many of the families affected by last week’s school shooting. There, Ms. Loesch didn’t change the substance of her arguments or make concessions, but she resisted many of her common lines of attack.
“I don’t believe that this insane monster should have ever been able to obtain a firearm, ever,” she said. “I do not think that he should have gotten his hands on any kind of weapon. That’s No. 1.”
She spoke in a measured tone and praised the students for using their voices. She said that the system for background checks was “flawed” (though the N.R.A. opposes their expansion).
The crowd, which overwhelmingly supported gun control, chanted “shame on you” as she left the stage.
On Thursday, Ms. Loesch said she needed a security detail to leave.
“There were people rushing the stage and screaming, ‘Burn her,’” she said.
A CNN spokesman said that its security personnel accompanied all the speakers, including Ms. Loesch, from the stage, and that Ms. Loesch also had her own private security. But he did not say whether she had been threatened.
The N.R.A. criticizing the media is nothing new, but some journalists chafed at the idea that they were emotionally untouched by the deaths of children.