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
Activist Court Turns the Law Designed to Protect the Firearm Industry from Frivolous Lawsuits on its Head

News  

Friday, March 15, 2019

Activist Court Turns the Law Designed to Protect the Firearm Industry from Frivolous Lawsuits on its Head

On Thursday, the Connecticut Supreme Court created a dangerous new exception to the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), a strong safeguard for our right to keep and bear arms.  

Canada’s Senate Holds Hearings on “Rube Goldberg” Gun Control Law, Bill C-71

News  

Friday, March 15, 2019

Canada’s Senate Holds Hearings on “Rube Goldberg” Gun Control Law, Bill C-71

Last month, the Senate Standing Committee on National Security and Defence (SECD) concluded two days of hearings on Bill C-71, the Liberal government’s gun control bill. (An additional hearing date has been set for March 18, ...

Governor Bevin Signs NRA-backed Constitutional Carry

News  

Monday, March 11, 2019

Governor Bevin Signs NRA-backed Constitutional Carry

The NRA applauds Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin for signing Senate Bill 150 into law, an NRA-backed bill that fully recognizes the constitutional right of law-abiding gun owners to carry a concealed firearm.

Yesterday’s Scandal, Today’s Mandate: Anti-gunner Embraces Operation Choke Point as Official Policy

News  

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Yesterday’s Scandal, Today’s Mandate: Anti-gunner Embraces Operation Choke Point as Official Policy

On Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) unabashedly embraced the tactics behind one of the most shameful policies of the Obama era, openly using the guise of her federal authority to berate and not so ...

Nevada: Omnibus Anti-Gun Bill Introduced, Legislator Bill Introduction Deadline Extended

Monday, March 18, 2019

Nevada: Omnibus Anti-Gun Bill Introduced, Legislator Bill Introduction Deadline Extended

Today, Assembly Bill 291 was introduced by Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui (D-41).  This omnibus anti-gun legislation is a threat to both gun owners residing in Nevada and those who are visiting. 

Levi’s Teams with Billionaire Michael Bloomberg to Attack Gun Rights

News  

Friday, September 7, 2018

Levi’s Teams with Billionaire Michael Bloomberg to Attack Gun Rights

Levi Strauss & Co. established its brand in the mid-19th century by selling durable clothing to working-class Americans. As Levi’s signature jeans gained popularity amongst a wider set in the middle of the last century, ...

Washington: Gun Ban Bills Fail Crossover Deadline

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Washington: Gun Ban Bills Fail Crossover Deadline

Today, March 13th at 5:00PM, was the cutoff deadline for all bills to be voted out of the chamber in which they originated.

Kentucky Governor Welcomes NRA to Bill Signing Ceremony

News  

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Kentucky Governor Welcomes NRA to Bill Signing Ceremony

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin welcomed NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox to a ceremonial bill signing for SB 150, an NRA-backed bill that fully recognizes the constitutional right of law-abiding gun owners to carry a concealed ...

Monday, March 18, 2019

Alert! Look Out ALABAMA! Here comes D.J. Parten's Bait & Switch

It looks like D.J. Parten is making a move on Alabama.  We’ve heard that he’s trying to establish himself in another state – Alabama.  So, if you know people in Alabama, forward this email to ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

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.