Earlier this week, I wrote about how Everytown for Gun Safety has spent five times as much as the National Rifle Association in the Virginia elections. Five times. At the time, I presented this as a datapoint to combat the idea that the NRA buys politicians, a ridiculous claim we keep hearing over and over again.
Over at Mother Jones, however, they seem to take the events in Virginia with so much spin I think the story itself is going to be ill.
The story in question is titled, “The NRA Is Contributing a Record Amount to Protect Republicans in Its Home State.”
With less than a week until Virginia’s state elections, the gun control debate has emerged as the leading issue for voters—and national groups on both sides of the issue have taken notice, pouring an unprecedented amount of money into campaigns. Thus far, the National Rifle Association has spent $298,000 on campaign contributions to help ensure the state’s GOP maintains control of its state legislature, according to the nonpartisan politics data group the Virginia Public Access Project. That might not seem like a huge number—especially compared to the hundreds of thousands of dollars gun control groups like Everytown for Gun Safety and Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence have spent to boost Democratic candidates—but it’s far more than the NRA has ever spent on in its home state.
As the Washington Post reports, the NRA usually spends the bulk of its funds in Virginia through independent expenditures, usually in the form of television ads in support of, or against, a specific candidate. The NRA has so far spent just over $22,000 in independent expenditures this election cycle, which is a lot less than it has in previous years. But since independent expenditures aren’t considered direct campaign contributions, they aren’t tracked in the same way.
Notice how they just gloss over the spending conducted by both Everytown and Brady?
You see, the problem isn’t what those “pure and righteous” organizations spend. Their spending is above reproach in the eyes of Mother Jones. It always has been and always will be.
It’s only the NRA’s spending that deserves any scrutiny.
Oh, the anti-gun spin on this…
Seriously, it’s impossible to believe that anyone takes Mother Jones seriously. Yet the mainstream media actually does. While Mother Jones is heavily biased, their fellow travelers at places like the New York Times and NBC News present them as a credible news source.
To be fair, it’s not like they’re actually lying here. The numbers they present do at least appear to be accurate.
The problem is context. Presenting the boogieman of the NRA spending record amounts–especially knowing that in this new world of digital media stories are often skimmed to a great degree–is nothing more than the act of a partisan hack trying to masquerade as “just a reporter.”
Sorry, I’m not buying it and neither should anyone else.
The truth of the matter is that the NRA is being outspent in Virginia and they’re right to spend more in an effort to try and keep the state from swinging wildly anti-gun. It’s a close thing as it is, so their actions make perfect sense. Especially since they’re being outspent so dramatically.
Unless, of course, you write for Mother Jones and don’t care about details like that.