Michael Bloomberg’s The Trace is on a campaign to turn gun companies against the leading online voices that speak about the importance of gun rights.
The Trace, which is nothing but a gun control megaphone disguising itself as pseudo-journalism, sent out a “name-and-shame” email last week putting companies on notice. They listed 13 specific firearm personalities with large social media followings. That was followed by leading questions that left little room for doubt what they were really after.
“Has your company reevaluated relationships with any of these creators in light of their political content?”
“Has it considered connections between this content and the political rhetoric on display last week?”
Those weren’t questions designed to illicit a thoughtful response. Those are question that tell the recipient that if they don’t dump them and run away fast, they’ll trash their company in the media.
The Trace is running a hit piece soon about a bunch of big 2A social media influencers. Here’s a screenshot from an email they sent to a company, soliciting comment.
It’s a great example of how this flavor of reputational blackmail works.
🧵 Anatomy of a hit piece 👇 pic.twitter.com/lJONXraaWU
— Open Source Defense (@opensrcdefense) January 16, 2021
They accused these social media personalities of spreading conspiracy theories online surrounding the 2020 election and Democratic party. The “reporter” also accused them of overdramatizing the risk of gun confiscation and “fomented fears of election fraud…” The “reporter” topped it off by attempting to tie the violence visited on Capitol Hill to these conspiracy theory allegations.
This isn’t journalism. This isn’t even advocacy, which at best, is what The Trace is all about. This is corporate intimidation. It’s vilifying innocent parties by smearing them with the same accusations used against those who actually committed criminal acts.
Know Your Adversary
Let’s start with what The Trace actually is. They bill themselves as “an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit newsroom” that’s managed to infiltrate the newsrooms of USA Today, The New Yorker, Slate and The Atlantic. Their independence is hardly true.
Common knowledge but needs to be seen again. @MrColionNoir @Mrgunsngear @Nutnfancy @iraqveteran8888 @MAC_Arms all Trace is doing is pretending to be “media”, but they’re just Everytown’s hit piece bureau. Hell, Mike Spies (NRA New Yorker piece) is on their payroll pic.twitter.com/hatOH2oG9v
— MomAtArms (@mom_at_arms) January 17, 2021
Guns America Digest dug into their tax records that show 70 percent of their funding comes from Everytown for Gun Safety, the gun control group that’s bankrolled by antigun billionaire Michael Bloomberg.
In fact, John Feinblatt – the same Feinblatt that heads Everytown for Gun Safety and once served as a senior advisor to Bloomberg when the billionaire was New York City’s mayor – is the principal officer listed on tax filings for The Trace.
Claims of editorial “firewalls” are laughable when emails are sent to gun companies telling them with the subtlety of a mob boss that it’s in their best interest to “reevaluate” their influencer relationships.
This standard they’re holding up to gun companies and social media influencers is intellectually inconsistent. By this line of reasoning, the rioting and looting over the summer should be attributed to every newsroom that whitewashed the violence witnessed during the summer of 2020.
There was plenty of it. MSNBC’s Ali Velshi literally told his audience on live television that the situation in Minneapolis was not “generally speaking unruly” even as the city burned behind him. Even more stark, Democrats and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) escaped blame when James T. Hodgkinson, a self-described “Bernie Bro” attacked Republican Members of Congress and left Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) fighting for his life in an armed attack.
Even Congressman Scalise didn’t blame Sen. Sanders for this heinous crime. It’s intellectually inconsistent to blame the crimes of an individual on another who had no part. Yet, that’s exactly what this “reporter” from The Trace is trying to do.
Colion Noir, a Second Amendment advocate and lawyer, wasn’t having it. In a video, he blasted the intimidation move.
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“The overall goal is to stifle the Second Amendment by limiting the First Amendment,” Noir explained. “They are going to do everything in their power to silence voices like me, silence voices like you just saw in that email. That’s their goal.”
Gun websites are being de-platformed. Facebook is banning ads for gun safes, even after over 8.4 million people bought a gun for the first time in the name of safety during inauguration week. The implication is clear. Gun owners are dangerous and need to be eliminated.
The NSSF will continue to stand up. Gun owners across America need to join in.
Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.