The Trace is Revealed – Yet Again – As the Bloomberg-Owned Anti-Gun Agitprop Outlet We’ve Known it to Be

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Jennifer Mascia
The Trace’s Jennifer Mascia (courtesy TED Archive and YouTube)

By Lee Williams 

The Trace, the propaganda arm of former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg’s gun control empire, wants the public to believe it’s an actual newsroom comprised of actual journalists. That’s a fiction they go to great lengths to maintain. 

The Trace calls itself “The only newsroom dedicated to covering gun violence.” Its staff refer to themselves as journalists, rather than anti-gun activists who are paid by Bloomberg to write anti-gun propaganda. 

Since the Trace was founded eight years ago, scores of newspapers, websites and other legacy media outlets have fallen victim to this ruse. Gannett’s flagship newspaper, USA Today, has collaborated with the Trace multiple times, and has even allowed Trace activists to produce and edit content, which appeared in the newspaper under a joint byline. 

“We have partnered with more than 170 national and local media organizations,” the Trace says on its website. “We’re always looking to start new partnerships.”

One Trace activist, Jennifer Mascia, who describes herself as a “Senior news writer @TeamTrace,” bristled recently when her employer was compared to Everytown, another anti-gun group funded by Bloomberg. 

“You know The Trace is not a gun control org. We don’t lobby. We don’t tell readers to support laws. We don’t publish our opinions. We are all journalists. None of us have ever worked in advocacy. Our backgrounds are easily searchable. Why do you persist with this myth?” Mascia tweeted, apparently with a straight face. 

“Follow the bios. We all went to journalism school. The facts don’t support your claims,” Mascia tweeted when pressed. Flashing Trace writers’ journalism school bona fides as proof of their objectivity isn’t really the flex Mascia apparently thinks it is. 

Enter Rob Romano, an intelligence associate at the Firearms Policy Coalition. Romano pointed out a stunning similarity between the IRS Form 990s for the Trace and Everytown. Both nonprofits share the same president, John Feinblatt. 

Feinblatt, of course, is Michael Bloomberg’s chief gun control capo, in charge of all of his gun control advocacy and lobbying operations. Further examination shows Feinblatt is also listed as the two nonprofits’ principal officer. The 990s show that the Trace and Everytown also use the same phone number, 646-324-8250. Both nonprofits were incorporated in Delaware, which is known for its stringent corporate privacy laws. 

Romano put the two 990s up in a tweet to Mascia, stating simply: “The president of your organization is literally the president of Everytown.” 

Ethical violations 

This, of course, is nothing new. Gun owners have always known about the nexus between the Trace and Bloomberg’s the other Astroturf (they’re not grassroots) gun-control groups funded by his billions of dollars. But the legacy media turns an intentionally blind eye to the connection so they can continue to publish the Trace’s propaganda guilt-free. 

If they legacy media accepted and acknowledged the reality that the Trace is nothing but another anti-gun advocacy group that was founded to generate anti-gun agitprop, they couldn’t ethically publish their work. Most newspapers have ethical guidelines (no, really) that prohibit partnering with activists. 

Gannett uses its “Principles of Ethical Conduct for Newsrooms” as a way to keep control of its thousands of journalists. The numerous collaborations between the Trace and USA TODAY clearly violate many of these ethical principles:

Exercising fair play:

We will strive to include all sides relevant to a story and not take sides in news coverage.

Maintaining independence:

We will maintain an impartial, arm’s length relationship with anyone seeking to influence the news.

We will be free of improper obligations to news sources, newsmakers and advertisers.

Ensuring the Truth Principle:

We will not intentionally slant the news.

Conducting investigative reporting:

Evaluate legal and ethical issues fully, involving appropriate colleagues, superiors, lawyers or dispassionate outside parties in the editorial process. (For example, it may be helpful to have a technical story reviewed by a scientist for accuracy, or have financial descriptions assessed by an accountant, or consult an ethicist or respected outside editor on an ethical issue.)

Be careful about trading information with sources or authorities, particularly if it could lead to an impression that you are working in concert against an individual or entity.

Editing skeptically:

Protect against being manipulated by advocates and special interests.


In a perfect world, every newspaper that published Trace propaganda as news stories would retract every single story and then issue an apology to its readers, along with a promise to never do it again. 

Unfortunately, that will never happen, because guns. The legacy media couldn’t care less about facts, accuracy, fairness or ethics if it involves an anti-gun story. 

If the legacy media continues to publish stories from proven anti-gun activists, I can’t help but wonder when they’ll begin to partner with NRA, GOA, NSSF or even SAF for future content. That would seem to be the fair thing to do. 

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  1. The history of “journalism” in the US is not one of enshrining “objectivity”. The idea that there are/were news outlets based on agenda/advocacy neutrality is a bedtime story for the terminally ignorant.

    Every “journalistic” effort is agenda-driven advocacy.
    – “Freedom of the press belongs to the man who owns one.”
    – “People everywhere confuse what they read in newspapers with news.”
    – “There are three kinds of writers of news. They are: 1) The reporter who writes what he sees. 2) The interpretive reporter, who writes about what he sees and what he construes to be its meaning. 3) The expert, who writes about what he construes to be the meaning of what he hasn’t seen.”
    – – A.J. Liebling (all above)

  2. Obviously members of the kkk and nazi party…Who else would be sleazy enough to jump in bed with Gun Control the one remaining agenda History Confirms is Rooted in Racism and Genocide?

    Nonetheless Violence is Violence and certainly not limited to the criminal misuse of firearms especially when criminals who would criminally misuse firearms will most assuredly criminally misuse bricks, bats, knives, fists, feet, fire, vehicles, etc. The conclusion is, Violence is Violence.

    • Correct that violence is violence. The method is another matter. It could involve an inanimate object (bladed instruments, blunt force objects, ligatures, and yes, firearms) but, most often the method is hands or feet.

  3. Who considers USA TODAY as anything but a rag fit only for a birdcage or dog chit? The legacy media is dead & Gannett helped bury it. As in Chiraq there was once objective “news”. Not now..

    • “Journalism” was one of the first to be infiltrated by l3ftists almost a century ago. Really came on stream in the 60s onwards.

      Any ethical concerns were abandoned by the late 80s.

      • Today, everybody knows that. It explains why ‘trust’ in the major media news outfits is a sad shadow of it’s former self. They simply don’t care anymore…

    • That bill forces everyone in the state to start a conversation with a stranger with “What are your pronouns?” to avoid committing a “hate crime” of rudeness. So, yeah they need to go and MLive needs to stop writing inflammatory nonsense.

    • You mean, as in two ‘A’s, two ‘D’s, and one gun?

      (RIP Garret Morris…)

  4. Are any reporting outlets unbiased?
    Is any data unbiased?

    The Trace exists to make money. The same reason ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX all exist. The same reason the New York Times and Washington Times exist. The same reason your doctor exists. If I heard some 80 year old billionaire needed a shoe-shiner I’d be set up with my box and kit in front of his house. That’s all The Trace is.

    If the drive isn’t money (sex is just an extension of money) then the drive is ideology. An ideology that’s usually focused on the money and who has or doesn’t have it. Here we get a mix of true-believers and grifters. Which is which can be difficult to discern so just know it doesn’t matter. They all deserve the rope.

    • The Trace like all externally-funded advocacy organizations does not exist to make money. Thus it can follow its owners directions and publish propaganda regardless of profitability.

  5. So the Gannett “Principles of Ethical Conduct” are like the guarantees of personal freedom in the Soviet and PRC constitutions. Amazing!

    • Agg – or perhaps more like “you have my word as a biden” – and ‘you can take that to the bank’…………………now if we could just find out which banks the big guy takes his ‘cut’ too.

      • I thought “Amazing” to be more tongue in cheek and subtle. But perhaps “Meaningless” would be clearer for those less accustomed to the tragic irony of the socialist paradises and places like Kolyma and how it came to be populated.

  6. We hear “journalism is dead”.

    Was it ever alive? Or are we just living in an age where we have the ability to see that most of what is pushed is propaganda, and likely has been throughout history. Really doesn’t matter what side or time. The allies dehumanized the axis forces (to the extent of ordering those who had positive experiences to not talk about them) to make sure the population and those fighting would continue to kill them. The russians are called orcs presently, which is obviously for the same reason. The media willingly has, does, and will continue to slant reporting how they want it to be.

    Not saying anything about the politics of the conflicts. The fact is that much of the media is quite complicit in pushing a narrative, and likely has been forever.

    Obviously these “astroturfed” “media” organizations are an extreme example, clearly proven, but the legacy media has become a bit more nuanced, especially as fact checking has been enabled for the masses.

  7. One of iowahawk’s (David Burge) best tweets:

    Journalism is about covering important stories.

    With a pillow, until they stop moving.

  8. at this juncture
    with somewhere between 400 and 500 million guns already in circulation in america
    and a million or more being added every month
    isnt gun control kind of a moot point
    a fools errand
    like pissing in the wind
    or pounding sand
    uts like calling the fire department
    after the barn already burned to the ground

    • Yes. That’s exactly right. Gun control has lost. But there’s still plenty of money to be made while agitating, marching, and lobbying for even a lost cause. Bloomberg has a virtually bottomless pile of money.

  9. “…Since the Trace was founded eight years ago, scores of newspapers, websites and other legacy media outlets have fallen victim to this ruse.”

    Seriously Dan- if you really believe these “news outlets” have “fallen victim”, rather than just carrying on the normal MSM narrative concerning armed Americans as an insurance policy against a tyrannical government, whether put in place by a fair election or by massive fraud; you need to turn the site over to someone better informed and more experienced in analyzing data. Perhaps you are inferring sarcasm but if so, it’s not all that clear or obvious.

    • the ‘ruse’ is the false credibility the trace gives its self, that makes everyone a ‘victim’ even if they aren’t MSM.

      • Only if you believe Bloomberg and his ilk. I’ve never felt like a victim, but I also live half the time in the free state of Iowa. As for the MN half, I’m a long way from St Paul. I have to believe that way up here in the land of “rocks and cows” (MN Gov. Walz), at least 90% of houses have more than one firearm that’s not going away anytime soon.

        • you don’t need to believe or even read them to be a victim. Anytime those lie about anything to do with a constitutional right they victimize the entire American public.

    • The common denominator of most lunatic Leftists are people with “daddy issues”.
      It’s a 100% correlation to female blobs that have blue hair and heads that have more holes than a wheel of Swiss cheese.

  10. The Lame Strem Media has been pulling this type of shenanigan’s for eons.

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