F. Paul Valone: Bloomberg’s astroturf campaign

May 1, 2014 

In response to your April 20 editorial “Bloomberg’s new gun control group is a noble, shrewd effort”: You say Michael Bloomberg and his “noble” group, “Everytown for Gun Safety,” represent “the will of the people,” which has too long been “thwarted” by the NRA. In truth, EGS is Bloomberg’s latest foray into what political operatives call “astroturfing” – creating the appearance of popular support where none exists.

Each time a Bloomberg front group wears out its usefulness, he folds it into another. This time, he’s upped the ante with “Everytown for Gun Safety,” which seems to feature all the same players but with a billionaire’s table stake of $50 million. The mainstream media usually marginalize Second Amendment advocates as “the gun lobby” or simply “the NRA.” Our agenda, they insist, is dictated by the American Legislative Exchange Council. The truth is exactly opposite: Limousine liberals like Bloomberg hire lobbyists and a few strident malcontents who are fawned over by media but stymied by all-volunteer organizations like ours. They have money, but we have the grass roots.

Ironically, Bloomberg got a taste of real grass roots mobilization when his minions neglected to register “Everytown for Gun Safety” on Facebook. Overnight, hundreds of “Everytown for Gun Safety” pages popped up like mushrooms, directing people to bonafide gun safety programs.

If you’re tempted to laugh at Bloomberg’s missteps, don’t laugh too hard. As demonstrated when he financed “grass roots” demonstrators at the recent NRA convention, $50 million buys a lot of phony grass.

F. Paul Valone

President, Grass Roots North Carolina, Raleigh

The length limit was waived to permit a fuller response to the editorial.

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service