Yesterday’s New York Times piece "Upstart Group Pushes Harder Than the N.R.A" by Jennifer Steinhauer was a glaring piece of public relations puffery that ignored the disturbing side of Gun Owners for America (GOA) and the group’s founder.
The article failed to reference the decades of controversial far-right activism of Larry Pratt, the creator of the so-called "no compromise alternative to the N.R.A." It never mentioned that Pratt was a founding figure of the militia movement of the 1990s, or that he shared the stage with leaders of the Aryan Nations and other white supremacists. It left out his writings supporting vigilantism and death squads. And the reporter chose not to mention Pratt’s English-Only outfit, English First, whose publications have regularly featured racism and anti-Latino innuendo since the group was created in 1986. Nor did it explore his role in fomenting gun control paranoia amongst Tea Party groups.
Towards the end of the article, Steinhauer did note that Pratt, "worked briefly for Patrick J. Buchanan’s 1996 presidential campaign" but curiously left out the fact that he was forced to resign from that position after his views and associations became public.
Now it might be possible to make the argument that the mountain of evidence documenting Pratt’s bigotry was something out of the past, not relevant to the current discussion. But the article even overlooks 2013 appearances by Pratt where, among other bigoted remarks, he participated in a discussion on how the first African-American president is raising a private black army to confiscate guns and massacre white Americans.
To read about the side of Larry Pratt and Gun Owners of America that the New York Times chose not to print, read IREHR president Leonard Zeskind’s 1995 Rolling Stone piece, "Armed and Dangerous: The NRA, Militias and White Supremacists Are Fostering A Network of Right Wing Warriors."