All errors should be reported to

Monday, June 27, 2016

NRA forces NPR to back down

In the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre in Newton, Connecticut, gun-getter Michael Bloomberg decided to fund a new group -- “Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America”  -- a fake grassroots effort (Astroturf) fronted by PR whiz Shannon Watts who became a stay-at-home mother. She used that as a way of making it sound like she was a naive innocent in the world of the media.

For three years, the media gave her a free ride. On June 17, Chris Arnold of NPR reported:
Much of the groundswell behind this crusade comes from just regular people pulled into it for their own reasons. For a woman named Shannon Watts, she was drawn in by another mass shooting — the murder of 20 schoolchildren 6- and 7-year-olds in Newtown, Connecticut. Watts wasn’t there: She lived 800 miles away in Zionsville, Indiana. She was folding her kids’ laundry, actually, when the news broke. And she wanted to do something. ‘I was obviously devastated but I was also angry and I went online and I thought, ‘Surely there is a Mothers Against Drunk Driving for gun safety.’ And I couldn’t find anything. Watts had never done anything political before but she made a Facebook page and she called it One Million Moms for Gun Control [now Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America].
But there was more to it than folding laundry.

The NRA complained and NPR issued a correction four days later:
June 21, 2016
This report refers to Shannon Watts as one in a group of “regular people” who began advocating for stricter gun control measures in recent years. After the December 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., she created the “One Million Moms for Gun Control” Facebook page. It later became “Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.”
We should have noted that Watts has a background in corporate communications. From 1998 to mid-2012, she was a corporate communications executive or consultant at such companies as Monsanto and FleishmanHillard. Before that, Watts had what she says was a nonpolitical job as a public affairs officer in the Missouri state government.
Our report also states that Watts had never “done anything political” before the shootings at Sandy Hook. We should have noted that Federal Election Commission records show she began contributing money to Democratic campaigns and political action committees earlier in 2012. According to those records, she has made about $10,000 in such contributions, and about one-third were made before the Sandy Hook shootings.
Media critic Erik Wemple of the Washington Post, from who I received this information, focused on the definition of a stay-at-home mom, rather than the real problem: A professional PR person not disclosing this background. His report is here.

NPR was correct in outing her PR past. This is not a grassroots campaign. This is a professional PR effort designed to mislead the public about its origins.


  1. The Progressive Left has no substantive arguments, only lies, deceit, and trickery. - Elric

  2. Interestingly, if you read the WaPo article, the woman tries to turn the topic around on the NRA by claiming that they're trying to define what a 'stay at home mom' is. Nope, ain't buying it, 'mom'. It's all about the pure-as-driven snow image you're trying to convey as opposed to how dirty you really are.

  3. I have no problem with Watts calling herself a "stay-at-home mom" but there is something childish and unprofessional about NPR telling us this as if it gives her special credibility. NPR must not hold its audience in high regard if it thinks people would be swayed by a label. On the other hand, I could take the more cynical view that NPR was intentionally being dishonest with its audience by using the "mom" label in order to avoid having to state straight up that Watts was a PR professional. But nah, NPR wouldn't do that, would they?

    1. National Pravda Reporting knows their audience. They have loons who are easily swayed by labels. People with a lick of common sense stay away from them.

  4. Other than that, the story was correct. Good God, my 14 year-old would put in more due diligence than NPR did, and he seems about as lazy as my dog these days. Do journalists even profess to be "preofessionals" anymore, or can they at least manage to suppress their smile or gag reflex as they insist upon it.