Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

Astroturf: The Anti-Gunners’ Playing Field

Friday, April 24, 2015

Astroturf: The Anti-Gunners’ Playing Field

Gun owners have become all too familiar with two unfortunate facts of life in 21st-century America. First, we know the mainstream media is not interested in reporting the facts when it comes to the Second Amendment. Second, Everytown for Gun Safety’s Michael Bloomberg, and like-minded anti-gunners, will stop at nothing to destroy our freedoms. This alliance of ignorance and deceit employs distortion and even outright lies to pursue the ultimate goal of destroying private gun ownership.

The good news is that a few reporters are unwilling to act as the unquestioning mouthpieces of anti-freedom groups, instead striving to actually report the news instead of pushing an agenda. One good example is Sharyl Attkisson, a former reporter for CBS who resigned after being pressured to back off from stories that could cast the Obama administration in a bad light. The goal when astroturfing is to convince decision-makers that some borderline agenda has a groundswell of support.

In her blog, Attkisson has described how “astroturfing” has become a favored tactic among political operatives to advance their objectives. The goal when astroturfing is to convince decision-makers that some borderline agenda has a groundswell of support. It presents a distorted reality in which consensus about some (unestablished) “fact” or “facts” has been reached and a (marginal) belief is widely shared by the public.

Attkisson names various Bloomberg-created anti-gun offshoots such as Everytown, Moms Demand Action, etc., as the foremost perpetrators of this deceitful tactic. In the world they portray, “reasonable” people—moms, mayors, doctors, lawyers, police chiefs—all agree that guns are bad. Only the NRA, and its inexplicable, sinister influence over lawmakers, stands in the way of what everyone else wants. 

“Astroturf’s biggest accomplishment is when it crosses over into semi-trusted news organizations that unquestioningly cite or copy it,” Attkisson notes. Two recent articles that appeared in prominent publications illustrate her point.

On Jan. 14, 2015, Politico published an essay dismissing defensive gun uses as a “myth.” You’d think with such an outlandish claim, the authors would have some evidence to support their argument. But you’d be wrong. In fact, they offer no evidence at all. 

Instead, the article rehashes the tired rhetorical buffoonery that was put to bed 20 years ago by Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz, esteemed criminologists and authors of a groundbreaking study on defensive gun uses in 1995. Kleck responded to this latest attack by asking for the one thing the authors of the Politico piece could not produce: evidence that defensive gun uses aren’t actually occurring in the United States, a nation of some 100 million gun owners. 

The authors didn’t provide such evidence because they know guns in this country are used far more often each year to save innocent lives than to take them. 

In February, The New York Times upped the ante by publishing a melodramatic editorial, “Concealed Carry’s Body Count,” based on a “report” by the Violence Policy Center (VPC). 

You would think the editorial board of the Times would include some former reporters or people who at least have some instinctive wariness of empirical claims made by pure advocacy groups. VPC is, after all, an organization whose website features a self-proclaimed “landmark” publication calling for bans on handguns and the AR-15, America’s most popular rifle. Once again, though, you’d be wrong.We don’t need astroturf. We have the solid ground of numbers and reality on which to stand.

The flaws in the VPC report are obvious, and its intent to mislead transparent. Of the 722 deaths that VPC attributes to concealed carry, 213 were suicides, five resulted from vehicle accidents, and 18 involved a long gun. And even if you accept their outrageously biased methodology, the 289 incidents detailed by VPC involve approximately two-thousandths of 1 percent of the roughly 12 million current holders of concealed-carry permits nationwide. In other words, even taking VPC’s “report” at face value would prove nothing so much as that concealed-carry-permit holders are among the most law-abiding demographic in the nation. 

Fortunately, you and I see through the charade. NRA members are freedom-loving Americans who number in the millions and treasure liberty as a precious, perishable gift. We understand that our enemies will use deceptive tactics to push their agenda. Yet we also know that together we can protect the Second Amendment for generations to come simply by adhering to our values and telling the truth. We don’t need astroturf. We have the solid ground of numbers and reality on which to stand.

IN THIS ARTICLE
Chris W. Cox
Chris W. Cox

BY Chris W. Cox

NRA-ILA Executive Director

Follow This Contributor

Chris W. Cox has served as the executive director of the Institute for Legislative Action, the political and lobbying arm of NRA, since 2002. As NRA’s principal political strategist, Cox oversees eight NRA-ILA divisions: Federal Affairs; State & Local Affairs; Public Affairs; Grassroots; Finance; Research & Information; Conservation, Wildlife & Natural Resources; and Office of Legislative Counsel. Cox also serves as chairman of NRA’s Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF), the Association’s political action committee; president of the NRA Freedom Action Foundation (NRA-FAF), which focuses on non-partisan voter registration and citizen education; and chairman of NRA Country, an effort to bring country music artists together with NRA members in support of our Second Amendment freedoms and hunting heritage.

TRENDING NOW
Gun Control Lobby Seeks to Thwart SHARE Act with Hysteria, Fear Mongering

News  

Hunting  

Friday, September 22, 2017

Gun Control Lobby Seeks to Thwart SHARE Act with Hysteria, Fear Mongering

The panic is now starting to set in amongst the gun control lobby, which is desperately searching for ways to smear a bill that has been around for years in various forms without attracting much ...

Washington Post Employs Deceptive Tactic on “Children” and Guns

News  

Friday, September 22, 2017

Washington Post Employs Deceptive Tactic on “Children” and Guns

The Washington Post has surpassed the Brady Campaign and Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety to take a place alongside the New York Times as the premier anti-gun propagandists in the country.

Wall Street Journal/NBC News Poll Throws Wrench in Anti-gun Agenda

News  

Friday, September 8, 2017

Wall Street Journal/NBC News Poll Throws Wrench in Anti-gun Agenda

Demonstrating the importance of the gun issue to the American electorate, 35 percent of respondents reported that “gun rights or gun control” had an impact on their voting behavior. The issue was the highest-rated answer, ...

Reuniting The United States With Reciprocity

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Reuniting The United States With Reciprocity

Most concealed-carry permit holders understand the potential pitfalls of traveling with a firearm, given the outrageous patchwork of state laws involved in even a short interstate trip. And while we haven’t posted much about reciprocity ...

Long Term Trends in Gun Sales Remain Strong

News  

Friday, September 22, 2017

Long Term Trends in Gun Sales Remain Strong

Discussion of the state of the firearms industry began again with the release of the August NICS numbers. Allegations of a fading industry recur every month. Obama was the greatest gun salesman ever, Hillary Clinton ...

Rhode Island:  House Gives Final Approval to Gun Control Bill

Friday, September 22, 2017

Rhode Island: House Gives Final Approval to Gun Control Bill

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello summoned lawmakers back to Providence in a rare September session, and the House passed an anti-gun bill Tuesday afternoon.  The session had abruptly ended in June with the budget and a ...

UK: Growing Support for Arming More Police

News  

Friday, September 22, 2017

UK: Growing Support for Arming More Police

The UK’s fear of firearms, and potential weapons of all kinds, is well-documented. Subjects are urged not to carry any item, such as pepper spray, that might be adapted for self-defense. Officers take to social media to boast of ...

Anti-Gun Politicians: Blocking Out The Facts About Suppressors

Hunting  

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Anti-Gun Politicians: Blocking Out The Facts About Suppressors

As soon as the Hearing Protection Act was put forward on Jan. 9, 2017, leftists came out of the woodwork to criticize and misconstrue the goals of those who supported removing suppressors from the auspices ...

National Reciprocity Bill Nears Goal Line in the House but Needs Your Support to Reach the End Zone

News  

Friday, September 15, 2017

National Reciprocity Bill Nears Goal Line in the House but Needs Your Support to Reach the End Zone

Gun owners received good news this week with the passage of the SHARE Act by the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources (see related story). Meanwhile, progress continued to be made on another NRA legislative ...

House Committee Passes SHARE Act by Wide Margin

Hunting  

News  

Friday, September 15, 2017

House Committee Passes SHARE Act by Wide Margin

As we have reported, this year’s version of the SHARE Act is the most expansive and far-reaching yet. Besides previously-introduced provisions aimed at enhancing opportunities for hunting, fishing, and shooting and broadening access to federal lands ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.