The Progressive: Big Media Unquestioningly Parrots the NRA’s Talking Points

The Independence Institute's Dave Kopel

courtesy The Independence Institute

How delusional do you have to be to think that the NRA disseminates its message “without being questioned” by The New York Times and Washington Post? . . . Five Years After Sandy Hook, Major U.S. Papers Still Have a Serious Gun Problem

What is the secret of the NRA’s success? It may involve the NRA’s ability to speak to and write for media outlets without being questioned, like it did after the Sandy Hook tragedy. Key to this strategy is the use of alleged “independent” experts who spread its pro-gun views throughout the press.

Take, for example, the pro-gun scholar, David Kopel. Today the news and opinion sections at both The New York Times and The Washington Post are out of sync over whether to disclose his receipt of NRA funding, while The Wall Street Journal misleads readers by never disclosing it.

“Writers and editors make their own decisions, which I don’t second-guess,” said Kopel in an email to The Progressive.

The Progressive isn’t happy about the funding Dave Kopel’s Independence Institute has gotten from the NRA over the last decade or so.

Last month the Times ran a news story about “Ghost Guns,” homemade firearms that are hard to track. The story quoted David Kopel, describing him as “the research director of the Independence Institute, a libertarian think tank, who is also an adjunct professor of law at the University of Denver.”

In the story, Kopel compared the nation’s current level of gun regulation to “prohibition or quasi-prohibition,” adding that the nation’s allegedly restrictive gun laws are “the lever that pushes up homemade production.” That seems odd considering that gun laws have only grown more lax across the nation over the past twenty years. But, knowing that his Independence Institute has received NRA funding, his comments make a lot more sense.

The New York Times’s assistant managing editor for standards, Philip B. Corbett, declined to comment.

Because, as everyone knows, The Times has been in the gun lobby’s pockets, well, forever. 

The Post’s online opinion section has done better. The paper runs Kopel’s opinion columns as part of The Volokh Conspiracy, a consortium of conservative-leaning legal scholars hosted by the Post online. But for years, the Post ran Kopel’s columns without identifying his NRA funding.

The Post finally began noting Kopel’s NRA financial ties after a critical post by the liberal group Media Matters. The paper’s opinion editors quietly changed his identification retroactively in all his columns. Editors call that a “rowback,” as if to row backwards over water and then forward again to smooth any ripple of an error. On this point Post spokeswoman Gannon Conway declined to comment.

What would the mainstream media do without ethical watchdogs like Media Matters to keep them on the straight and narrow?


  1. avatar DUG says:

    Thank God that ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSMBC, Vox, etc are running all those pro-gun pieces given to them by the NRA.

  2. avatar Button Gwinnett says:

    And Media Matters is funded by, anyone? Anyone?

    George Soros.

  3. avatar Alex Waits says:

    So.. not quite MSM rag thinks the MSM has been co-opted by the NRA .. right after after the MSM as a whole is dying a slow death after its blatant bias during event coverage over the last 9 years…. hmm..

    1. avatar ORCON says:

      SEE! SEE! NRA murdered it!! NRA killed the MSM! Oh the humanity. D:

      1. avatar doesky2 says:

        “some things just need killing”

  4. avatar Noishkel says:

    Next week The Progressive will be reporting that New York’s chocolate rations will be increased from 30 grams to 20 grams.

    1. +1

      No….. Wait….. +1,000,000


    2. avatar Chadwick says:

      Orwell reference for 200 Alex!

  5. avatar ironicatbest says:

    I don’t know what to believe anymore. See BS news, or crazy like a FOX, isn’t NBC owned by a Japanese cooperation? They’re going to be anti gun for sure. And it’s all crap anyway, because evidently none of them can read… “SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED”, is it that hard?

  6. avatar ORCON says:

    When will this “gun lobby” trope ever play out? Let’s be honest about what that means, it’s an attempt to deny the humanity and individualism of gun owners while simultaneously setting up a strawman that we are supposed to punch at.

    1. avatar Cory C. says:

      Bingo. It is simply a boogie man for anti-gun politicians to rally their base against without having to pointedly say that their fellow Americans disagree with them. “It’s not that your neighbors want guns, it’s that they’ve been tricked by the gun lobby.”

      Grow a spine and admit that you don’t like guns, that you think a constitutional right should be curtailed in order to satisfy your fear about guns, and that you have an intense disdain for people who do like guns, people that you view as dim-witted. Just be a man/woman and admit that you despise us and you find the Constitution to be vexatious.

  7. avatar former water walker says:

    This is what legalized pot gets you!😋😋😋😋😋 That may the single most retarded thing I’ve ever read…

    1. avatar Frank says:

      former water walker… Yup retarded! Although I do believe this leftist need want and desire to control the lives of others comes more from a mental disorder then from doing drugs.

  8. avatar ozzallos says:

    I like how they spin it as if the media has been in the NRAs pocket the entire time; like they havent done its level best to demonize the organization and its members.

    Damn the NRAs iron grip on the defenseless news outlets of journalistic freedom!

  9. avatar Ralph says:

    “Frank Smyth is a freelance journalist who has covered the NRA for more than twenty years, writing for The Village Voice, The Washington Post, and The Progressive. He won a Society of Professional Journalists national investigative award for his Mother Jones story, “Unmasking NRA’s Inner Circle,” after the Sandy Hook massacre.”

    In other words, Smythe is a left-wing moron who is obsessed with the NRA.

  10. avatar LHW says:

    Yes because the liberals are not funded by rich people.

    1. avatar H says:

      Hilarious!!! :):)

  11. avatar Warlocc says:

    …….. Wut?

  12. avatar Philthegardner says:

    That was the DUMBEST thing I’ve ever read. If leftist can’t lie, they won’t speak at all.

    1. avatar Chadwick says:

      Did you get a hold of my Christmas list? Right below M2 Browning was “make liberals stop lying”… I have a better chance with the Browning I think.

    2. avatar Philthegardner says:

      Methinks you’d have a better chance getting a GAU-8A 30mm cannon than to get your other wish to come true. So sad…

  13. avatar No one of consequence says:

    One of the comments (three in total, all of which were pro-gun) asked whether they will be calling out papers for similarly funded pro-gun control writers – you know, equally applied standards and all.

    My guess? Probably not.

    Seriously, the sad thing is that some people on the other side of the political chasm probably believe this article. And that makes me very concerned as to whether the rift can ever be healed.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “And that makes me very concerned as to whether the rift can ever be healed.”

      My money’s on *no*, it cannot.

      They have zero intentions of seeing things our way, and we of theirs.

      At this point only thing left to decide is to whether the divorce will be amicable, or will there be the inevitable domestic violence…

  14. avatar Horacemann says:

    Yeah right. The right wing media never lies. Uh huh.

    1. avatar Excedrine says:

      Nice Tu Quoque fallacy you got there.

  15. avatar BobS says:

    “…gun laws have only grown more lax across the nation over the past twenty years.” By that, does he mean Soros and Bloomberg and the Joyce, Brady, etc. folks haven’t gotten every item they paid for on their legislative shopping list?

  16. avatar Survivordude1090 says:

    “Oh really?” – Shrek

  17. avatar Chris T from KY says:

    The mental illness of the left wing media is on high display.

  18. avatar Avid Reader says:

    He cites Kopel and his writings for the Volokh Conspiracy as appearing in the Washington Post. VC moved to December 13.

    If you’re going to spew bullshit, at least get the verifiable stuff straight. . .

  19. avatar Roymond says:

    It’s worth reading the article in which Kopel was originally quoted:

  20. avatar Oldshooter says:

    The reason we don’t see “research” artickles by “scientists” supporting the idea that the earth is flat, is the same as the reason real “scientific researchers” are always “pro-gun.” No matter what your original beliefs may be, the actual evidence clearly points in one direction, and “real” scientific experts go where the data lead them. Guns in civilian hands are not a public safety problem, and probably even confer an increase in public safety; they certainly do not do the opposite.

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