LA L.A. Los Angeles Times
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By Lee Williams

The Los Angeles Times is a real newspaper, unlike USA Today, which most people step over while leaving a hotel room. During its more than 140 years, the Los Angeles Times has earned 48 Pulitzers. It has a daily print circulation of 1.2 million readers, and a weekly print and digital circulation of 4.4 million.

That’s why it is somewhat surprising that the Times copied USA Today’s ethical blunder by allowing anti-gun activists from the Trace to publish unedited propaganda disguised as real news.

The Trace describes itself as the “only newsroom dedicated to reporting on gun violence.” It has slick digital packages that are chockfull of stories, photos and videos, so it’s easy to confuse the Trace with an actual news website. But a news website it is not. The Trace was founded in 2015 by former New York City mayor and staunch gun-control advocate, Michael Bloomberg. It operates as the propaganda arm for Bloomberg’s other anti-gun groups, which include Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action.

Michael Bloomberg
(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

The Trace advocates for more restrictive gun laws, but their message is a lot slicker than the handmade signs carried by Demanding Moms and Everytown employees. Reporters at the Trace are activists, not journalists. They advocate for more gun control. That’s their job, and they’ve become very skilled at insinuating themselves into legacy media newsrooms.

USA Today once even allowed a Bloomberg anti-gun activist from the Trace to interview a Giffords anti-gun activist, David Chipman. For the Trace, publishing their propaganda in a daily newspaper – especially one such as the Los Angeles Times – is always seen as a real coup.

The Trace’s latest hit piece was published Tuesday in the Times’ California section – a news section. It was titled “Gun ownership data are often limited — and the NRA knows it stands in the way.” It was bylined: Will Van Sant. It wasn’t until the end of story that the Times published a short disclaimer: “Van Sant writes for the Trace, a nonprofit newsroom covering gun violence in America.” The Trace also ran Van Sant’s piece on its website.

The story was everything you’d expect from the Trace. It advocated for the creation of a national database of gun owners to promote “gun violence research.” It also disparaged gun-rights groups, including the Second Amendment Foundation, for opposing the idea.

It was pure propaganda, since anyone with even the smallest shred of common sense can see the potential for harm in establishing a national list of gun owners – especially while the Biden-Harris administration occupies the White House. However, journalistically this story should never have seen print. For The Times’ editors, this story was an ethical hand grenade with a handle.

The Times updated its ethical guidelines in 2014, and now publishes them on their website. It’s clear the newspaper violated more than a few of its own ethical policies by allowing an anti-gun activist to write an anti-gun story, which was disguised as news.

“In covering contentious matters — strikes, abortion, gun control and the like — we seek out intelligent, articulate views from all perspectives. Reporters should try genuinely to understand all points of view, rather than simply grab quick quotations to create a semblance of balance,” the guidelines state.

The Trace story was one-sided and unbalanced, and included ad hominem attacks on gun-rights groups. There was only one perspective and one point of view – the author’s.

“The work of freelance journalists appears in our publications alongside staff-produced content. Freelancers must therefore approach their work without conflicts and must adhere to the same standards of professionalism that The Times requires of its own staff, including these guidelines. It is the responsibility of assigning editors to inquire about a freelancer’s potential conflicts of interest before making an assignment,” the guidelines state.

Van Sant the trace

Since the Trace reporter was not a Times staffer, he would qualify as a freelancer, and therefore “subject to the same standards of professionalism that The Times requires of its own staff, including these guidelines.” There could be no greater conflict of interest than allowing an anti-gun advocate to write propaganda, which is then disguised as news.

“Credibility, a news organization’s most precious asset, is arduously acquired and easily squandered. It can be maintained only if each of us accepts responsibility for it,” the guidelines state.

Consider the credibility squandered, especially among the gun-rights community, especially those poor souls living in California.

I emailed the Times’ communication department and asked to speak with a representative of the paper about the Trace story and whether the newspaper violated its own ethical policies.

I also called and emailed the Time’s reader representative, whom the paper touts as its point of contact for questions about “journalistic standards, practices and accuracy.”

To date, I have received no response to my emails or calls. This story will be updated if I do. I am, however, not holding my breath. Regardless of the outcome, when it comes to their anti-gun bias, we will continue to hold the legacy media accountable.

The LA Times has never hesitated to lecture gun owners about how we should live our lives, and what we need or don’t need to defend our families, even though none of them have likely ever touched a gun, much less used one defensively. Therefore, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit it’s somewhat satisfying to lift the shades and let a little sunshine into their ivory tower. They need to be exposed for what they truly are – nothing but a bunch of pompous, gun-hating hypocrites.


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This story is part of the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project and is published here with their permission.

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  1. Even on its best day the NRA stood in nobodies way. Bloomberg could buy and sell the NRA by himself. Soros, gates and th4e other fascist corporate billionaires could throw more money at a problem than God.

    And yet they’re not winning. Why? People. With or without the NRA the majority, by far, of Americans own firearms. And new owners are being created by the fascist scare tactics every day.

    • jwm, what the left has never understood is that the harder you beat a dog the harder that dog is going to bite you one day. I think they’re going to get bitten in the not to distant future. I also think a few of them are beginning to realize this, but they just keep beating the dog.

      • GF — few dogs would have tolerated what we’ve tolerated without going stark raving mad. The bite is long overdue.

        • Buddy you are not going to turn the tables and bite Gun Control harder if the same old tit for tat crap is used. The usual this and that dead horse explanation defense of The Second Amendment doesn’t cut it.

          You want to ground and pound Gun Control you open your piehole and let the History of Gun Control do the grounding and pounding. When Gun Control pops its head up The History Confirmed Truth About Gun Control should pop up and and counterpunch otherwise it’s bend over business as usual.

  2. Love the photo of Bloomie…it looks like he is giving the NSDAP salute…appropriate considering his authoritarian politics.

  3. Please take note that newspapers are no longer inherently profitable. Having lost their chief moneymaker, the classified, and now with display ads a microscopic percentage of what it used to be, all papers have slashed their reporting staff by 70-80% since the mid ’80s. Note how your local metropolitan daily has “China Times” inserts, flat out propaganda from the CCP. Consequently they run PR blurbs from an assortment of organizations and politicians as long as they fit the political narrative. It would not be surprising if Bloomberg paid the LAT to run that story. It is insult to your birds to line their cage with that stuff.

    • I haven’t noticed any China Times inserts. I haven’t touched my local paper in over a decade since it became the propaganda wing of the state Democrat party and sports teams owners wanting taxpayers to buy them stadiums. Last time they pestered me, the subscription was practically free, but not worth the bother of picking it up and tossing it in the recycling bin.

  4. The LA Times was widely referred to as “Pravda West” all the way back in the 80s, long before anyone ever heard of The Trace, so I see no cause for surprise.

  5. “The Trace’s Anti-Gun Agitprop Now Featured in the ‘Los Angles Times’ Disguised as News”?

    AYFKMRN?? The LA Slimes has never published anything BUT agitprop disguised as news. Check our their reporting on the California wildfires and PG&E. Check out their reporting on BOTH of the last gubernatorial recall elections. Check out their reporting on the issues at the Port of LA and Long Beach. The only certainty in SoCal reporting is . . . if the Slimes is reporting it, it is Leftist propaganda, and likely untrue (they also breathlessly reported the “Russia collusion” hoax, and the “January 6 insurrection” nonsense).

    Spare me; anyone who reads the LA Slimes as anything other than comic relief is seriously deluded . . . gee, I wonder if dacian the stupid or MinorIQ read the LA Slimes???

    • They are still pining for Pravda and Izvestia, but are making do with the Global Times.

  6. This has nothing to do with the NRA. This wasn’t created by them and can’t be fixed by them.

    It’s why I don’t have anything to do with the LA Times or any of its other echoing orgs.

  7. As CliffG above correctly pointed out, newspapers are all but toast. They’re of a past era. Those hanging on do so utilizing deep financial cuts across board, staff and personnel cuts being a significant area of savings, but reduced days of print, less pages and reduced physical paper size are common. Gone are high paid qualified journalist.

    Those of us with decent English skills, that being reading, writing and comprehension can easily spot the downward trend in accuracy and quality, it’s virtually gone.
    A significant amount of what I see now days best passes as amateurish.

    My local anti-gun newspaper, the Spokesman Review, which I won’t give a red cent to is a joke of a publication. I’ll rejoice the day when it like many other newsprint entities ceases to exist. Even their e-online portion is a substandard farce which they try to squeeze a little coin to view but my ad-blocker over-rides that attempt. It’s full of grammatical errors, inaccuracies and lop-sided information.

    News gathering and information reporting is dead. The best one can do is get what’s available, not believe whats reported and read between the lines.

    Don’t try to spoon feed me dirt and tell me its sugar, I know the difference.

  8. Everything is a point of bias backed by paid-for “experts” to embolden the already biased and grift the susceptible.

    The NPC are living in the Matrix and there’s more of them than you.

  9. One of the complaints listed in the article was a lack of objective research in gun violence.
    Ask the rank and file police officers where the violence is and who the usual suspects are.
    They will tell you the majority of gun related violence comes from the areas controlled by the drug gangs and the local thugs. Most of the shooting is gangstas and thugs either victimizing the people in those neighborhoods, or the thugs and gangstas shooting at each other.
    Yes, you do get the occasional domestic dispute, and the occasional dumb redneck with a bad temper and too much alcohol on board, but the vast majority of shootings are either drug related, or street gang related. Truth be told, remove the gansta demographic and the US would be amongst the safest countries in the world.
    Notice I do not mention race here. There are criminal gangs represented by every race, color, religion, etc.
    Anyone who wants to reduce violent crime in any city or jurisdiction needs to come down hard on the criminal gangs and drug dealers. Deal with those who actually commit the crimes and make it well known that being a thug or gangsta is a 1 way ticket to a long time in prison or an early grave.

  10. quote————–“All firearms research suffers from one problem: we do not know how many firearms are in the United States or how they are distributed,” Savani wrote in a brief report titled “Assessing Firearm Research.”

    Garen Wintemute, a physician and professor at UC Davis who has studied gun violence for four decades, called Savani’s statements “an admission of what the NRA has denied for 25 years.” ————quote

    quote————A homicide surge drove the record number of gun deaths, according to a Pew Research Center review of figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The review found that in 2020, nearly 8 in 10 murders were committed with a gun — the highest percentage since at least 1968. Although the number of gun deaths tallied in 2020 was a 43% increase from a decade prior, per capita figures were highest in the 1970s.———————quote

    quote————Andrew Morral, a behavioral scientist and director of a RAND Corp. initiative to assess firearms research, said having comprehensive ownership data would make gun violence research “substantially better and more likely to deliver important insights. You need only look at the very valuable research coming out of California.”————-quote

    • Who’s Savani? Why should we care? I’m not going on a wild source chase.

      Anyone who plagiarizes from published sources is dishonest.

    • Hey stupid. No one has any legitimate need-to-know reason to count how many guns are in America. You’ll do better to start counting how many dandelions are in America. Or, how many wolverines. Or, how many vinegar douches. I’m pretty sure the number approaches half a billion, many others estimate 400 million, and many many others estimate at least one for every man, woman, and child in the country. That’s close enough for any acceptable purposes.

  11. If gun data’s limited lets start off with releasing a list of every “shall issue” city and state’s databases. We’ll see how “equitable” their laws are at that point.

    This is just gross and a bad trend. Betting the AP and a bunch of others get in on this soon.

  12. The LA Times can “win” all the Pulitzer’s they want. They are still a Leftist-Socialist rag.

  13. The paranoia of the Far Right is always laughable. This information not only is necessary but is not a threat to gun owners at all. If the government decides to ban a certain type of weapon it does no need registration to do so. The penalties would be so severe (such as the machine gun restrictions and bans) that the average American would not take the chance on disobeying the law including even turning guns in.

    Lets face facts any weapon that was banned and had to be registered or even turned in would be totally useless to the owner. The owner of the banned weapon could never use it in a self defense situation, never sell it without risk of immediate imprisonment, he would be fined heavily and lose all gun rights for life. As one can see the Far Rights paranoia and total stupidity about registration is legendary. The government does not need registration to ban weapons and never has needed it.

    • dacian, the Dunderhead. Apparently you are not a student of history. Before banning weapons, registration has almost always preceded that. Speaking of laughable? Your propaganda is laughable and if it weren’t so dangerous , it would just pathetic. A weapon is never “useless”. Except in your case. You still can’t tell us the firing sequence of a cartridge, nor the difference between aimed and precision fire (I’ll give you a hint, one is a military term).

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