NPR, Politico, Time, and Scientific American are unlikely ever to pay an NRA employee to write news articles about gun control. But they have no problem hiring people who work for The Trace, a Michael Bloomberg-funded gun control organization. Even in the very hypothetical case that these publications did use an NRA-influenced article, they would undoubtedly include a disclaimer warning readers of the possible bias.
The Trace, which has made a business out of attacking people who have received money from gun rights organizations, doesn’t receive the same scrutiny from the rest of the media. Instead, news outlets hide or ignore The Trace’s financial ties to Bloomberg. NPR describes it as “an independent, nonprofit journalism organization dedicated to covering issues related to guns in America.” When I pointed out to a senior editor at Scientific American that contributing editor Melinda Wenner Moyer is also a regular paid writer for The Trace, he insisted that none of his staff had a conflict of interest and that The Trace was a nonprofit newsroom.
This past week, Moyer had a piece at The Trace arguing that the increase in gun sales over the last few months is linked to the recent surge in urban shootings. In another, she claimed that guns don’t keep one’s family safer.
But Moyer fails to mention the standing down and disbandment of police units, or the release of prisoners amid the pandemic. These factors can lead to a surge in crime. She ignores that the causation with gun sales might be going the other way, with people buying guns as they see the breakdown of the legal system and having to rely on themselves for protection. Instead, she blames the 30% increase in murders in New York City or the 78% increase in Chicago in June on gun sales that increased the national supply of firearms by only a couple of percentage points.