WashPo, Politico Highlight ‘Easy Target’ Kelly Ayotte Over Gun Control Vote

The latest target for gun-control activists appears to be freshman Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.). In strikingly similar articles appearing on May 1, the Washington Post hyped the “contentious political fight” over gun control, and Politico describing the “lingering controversy that continues to hover over the New Hampshire senator.”

The two articles try to portray Ayotte as at odds with the majority of Americans over the issue of expanding background checks, pushing flawed polling that show 88 percent of New Hampshire citizens supporting background checks. Neither the Post nor Politico mention that background checks already exist for the vast majority of gun purchases.

Instead, The Post’s Ed O’Keefe highlights how “Ayotte is facing new constituent anger and a coordinated effort by gun-control groups to turn her vote into a political liability.” O’Keefe and Politico’s Manu Raju both mention organizations including Mayors Against Illegal Guns as leading the charge for greater gun control. Neither O'Keefe nor Raju stopped a moment to consider why MAIG needed to be on the ground to gin up angry town hall participants if the people of the Granite State were naturally disgusted by Ayotte's vote.

No, instead the aim was writing a narrative which has Ayotte on the defensive and at risk of falling outside the mainstream of New Hampshire voters. Raju decided to describe Ayotte as someone who is being transformed from a, “young conservative Republican woman whose star is on the rise — into a polarizing figure back home on a contentious issue.

For his part, Raju provided a more balanced article than O'Keefe, including quotes from several pro-gun advocates, whereas O’Keefe’s article is peppered with anti-gun quotes, including highlighting a lengthy editorial featured in a New Hampshire newspaper hammering Ayotte for her vote against extended background checks. 

O’Keefe described Ayotte as a “easy target for the gun-control groups” pointing out that as she travels the state, “Ayotte has been confronted by signs that read we are the 90%!.” Other than the brief quote from NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam, The Post ignored any pro-gun arguments in favor of the gun-control groups, who dominate the article. 

O’Keefe and Raju did their part to push the narrative that Ayotte's vote against expanded background checks has “infuriated many residents” and use the example of Erica Lafferty, whose mother was the principal at Sandy Hook Elementary, walking out of a town hall meeting with Ayotte, as evidence of such anger towards her.    

Both articles concluded  the same way they began, chastising Ayotte for her support of Second Amendment rights.

It's all too clear what's happening here. Ayotte is a Tea Party conservative/libertarian in the Northeast. The liberal media desperately fears the continued electoral success of such a politician sticking to her convictions, especially in a region of the country, the Northeast, where those views allegedly are a death sentence for Republican politicians.

Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.