The National Rifle Association launched a series of advertisements attacking Michael Bloomberg, the leader and chief funder of Everytown for Gun Safety, on Aug. 20. The apparent goal of the ads is to make the former New York City mayor appear distant and removed from the general public, and thus reduce the weight of his and Everytown’s messages.
Called the “Meet the real Michael Bloomberg” campaign, the first advertisement refers to him as “billionaire, elitist, hypocrite,” and is scheduled to air in six southern and western states. This “Insult” ad claims Bloomberg tried to ban snack foods and soda, referring to his efforts to restrict use of food stamps in New York City to healthy foods and to limit portion size of sweetened beverages sold in city restaurants and movie theaters to 16 ounces. In the video, a woman drives a pickup truck through a rural area as an announcer says: “Hey, Bloomberg, keep your politics in New York.”
The NRA says the campaign is a counter-attack. Chris W. Cox, executive director of the lobby group’s Institute for Legislative Action, states in a press release “Michael Bloomberg has declared war on the NRA and our five million members. We will not sit back and let him use his billions of dollars to impose his radical anti-freedom agenda on the American people.”
The lobby group says it will spend about half a million dollars in airing this first advertisement, which the Washington Post notes has a unique oddity: it’s the first time the organization has launched a campaign against one who isn’t running for office.
The Republican-turned-independent isn’t concerned about the efforts, however, and neither is Everytown, whose spokesperson Stu Loeser told MSNBC “This is a sign Mike Bloomberg’s efforts are working. […] (T)his November we will help defeat (political candidates) who have made the mistake of aligning with the NRA.”
Everytown is a merging of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Safety in America organizations. On April 15, Bloomberg announced his $50 million contribution to Everytown, telling media “we’ve got to make (the NRA) afraid of us.”
In another recent campaign, the NRA published a “Firearms and the Blind” video, using fear tactics that claimed eyesight wasn’t needed to shoot an attacker. After public criticism, the video was removed four days later.