Media Carry Water For NRA's False Attack Ad That Claims Michael Bloomberg Wants To Ban Guns
Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON
Media outlets are uncritically reporting the false claim in a new attack ad from the National Rifle Association that gun safety advocate Michael Bloomberg wants to "ban ... your guns." In fact, Bloomberg supports the right to own a gun.
The NRA is launching an ad campaign against Bloomberg due to the former New York City mayor's position as a chairman of gun violence prevention group Everytown for Gun Safety and his pledge to spend $50 million this election cycle in support of gun safety measures.
Although he is not a candidate for office in 2014, the NRA plans to run an ad in Senate battleground states attacking Bloomberg over his support for gun safety proposals.
In the ad a narrator states, "Bloomberg tries to ban your snack food, your sodas and most of all, your guns." But neither Bloomberg nor Everytown for Gun Safety are proponents of general gun bans, a fact that some media outlets covering the NRA ad are leaving out of their reports.
The USAToday.com article which first reported on the NRA ad, as well as articles at CBSNews.com and The Washington Post's Post Politics blog quoted the NRA's false gun ban charge without noting that it's not true. (By contrast Time and MSNBC.com reported on the NRA's attack ad without quoting its false claims.)
Bloomberg recently called lawful gun ownership a "right" and when asked in June on NBC's Meet The Press why he was spending $50 million dollars on gun safety initiatives, he said, "I want to make sure that the public gets together, tells the Congress and their state legislatures we want reasonable background checks. We don`t want to end the Second Amendment. It has nothing to do with gun control."
After the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Bloomberg expressed support for banning a specific category of gun -- assault weapons -- but also said, "nobody questions the Second Amendment's right to bear arms." Later as a vote on a background check bill in the Senate approached, Bloomberg said, "This is about the public having the right to buy arms and the right to protect themselves and the right to use them for sport, for hunting. But, also, it's about the public's right to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill. That's in everybody's interests."
Appearing on Meet the Press on April 16, one year after the NRA's Senate allies filibustered background check legislation, Bloomberg again argued in favor of background checks stating, "This is simply making sure that people -- that everybody agrees should not be allowed to buy a gun, criminals, minors and people with psychiatric problems make sure they can't buy guns. Nobody's going to take anybody's gun away, nobody's going to keep you from hunting or target practice or protecting yourself. It's just making sure that a handful of people who we all agree shouldn't have guns don`t get their hands on them."
Bloomberg's group, Everytown for Gun Safety, also does not advocate for a ban on guns. According to the group's website, its four areas of focus are background checks, strengthening prohibitions on gun ownership by domestic abusers, advocating for the safe storage of firearms around children, and cracking down on illegal gun trafficking.