Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

Misleading Headlines and the Murder Rate

Friday, December 14, 2018

Misleading Headlines and the Murder Rate

We hear a lot about “fake news.” We regularly see data miscoded and statistics misused. What we have seen several times over the last several months does not really fit any of those categories.

CBS News published an article last month with the headline, “Gun death statistics: CDC study says gun deaths are on the rise after years of decline.”

Twenty-seven days later, The New York Times published an article last week with the headline, “U.S. Murder Rate for 2018 is on Track for a Big Drop.”

Those two headlines don’t mesh well.

The CBS News headline neglected to mention that the data is from 2016, as the CDC report discussed in the article compared data from 2015-2016 with 2012-2013. The data is two years old, but the CBS News headline framed the rise as current.

The CDC report itself is less sensational but it does use two non-consecutive two-year periods as the time period for the analysis. Compared to the fear-inducing headline used by CBS News, that seems like nitpicking. The more problematic issue with the CBS News headline – and we’re sure there were others like it when the CDC Report came out – is that it is shaping up to be incorrect, when read in the present tense.

The New York Times article is forward-looking, to say the least. Using city-level data on the 66 largest cities in the country, crime analyst Jeff Asher predicts “the country is moving toward the largest national drop in murder since a 3.6 percent decline in 2013.”  Asher notes that estimating national trends from city data is difficult, but the cities used in his analysis accurately predicted the movement of the national murder rate every year except 2002. The extent of the drop is less clear than the likelihood of a drop. Asher predicts that, if the cities in his analysis hold their average 7% decrease in murder rate from 2017 through the end of this year, than the national murder rate should be down somewhere between 4%-5% from last year.

Asher dutifully notes that “there is still no consensus on why murder rose nationally in 2015 and 2016…” and offers a handful of possibly contributing factors for a drop in the murder rate this year, including better technology, community intervention programs, and, interestingly, cold weather. Asher provides links to actual research backing up each possible factor.

We understand that data analysis can take time. It takes time for federal agencies to collect, aggregate, and analyze data from state and local agencies all over the country. The CDC only recently published data for 2017, and the FBI won’t release 2018 data until sometime next September.

However, reporting on years-old data while also combining all firearms-related deaths regardless of intent – homicide, suicide, accidents, or unknown intent – with a present-tense headline is more than misleading. The CDC report includes this statement: “It is too soon to know whether recent increases in firearm homicide rates represent a short-term fluctuation or the beginning of a longer-term trend.”

Based on Mr. Asher’s work with more recent data, it looks like a short-term fluctuation.

IN THIS ARTICLE
CDC
TRENDING NOW
Beto Going All-In on Confiscation

News  

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Beto Going All-In on Confiscation

Democrat Presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke continues to struggle to gain any sort of traction for his campaign. With some polls putting him in 10th place, and his average sitting around 7th, some might say that it is desperation ...

Tell Your Lawmakers: No Semi-Auto and Magazine Ban!

News  

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Tell Your Lawmakers: No Semi-Auto and Magazine Ban!

The Democrat Party is now so aligned with gun control that every major candidate running for its 2020 presidential nomination recently appeared in a propaganda video produced by one of the nation’s most active firearm prohibition groups. ...

House Democrats Continue Unprecedented Push for More Gun Control

News  

Sunday, September 15, 2019

House Democrats Continue Unprecedented Push for More Gun Control

As was continually threatened while Congress was on its six-week Summer break, House Democrats hastily convened a hearing on Tuesday to promote their latest batch of anti-gun bills.  The House Judiciary Committee’s markup of three bills, ...

NRA Files Suit Against San Francisco for Violating First Amendment

News  

Sunday, September 15, 2019

NRA Files Suit Against San Francisco for Violating First Amendment

On September 3, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors smeared millions of law-abiding Americans by unanimously adopting a resolution that designated NRA a “domestic terrorist organization.” Less than one week later, on September 9, NRA filed a federal lawsuit ...

Playing Games with Numbers

News  

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Playing Games with Numbers

Stanford Law Professor John Donohue and Theodora Boulouta, a Stanford undergrad, wrote an opinion piece in the New York Times that claims their new research shows the 1994 “assault weapons” ban really did work.  Their finding is ...

NASCAR Takes a Hard Left

News  

Friday, August 30, 2019

NASCAR Takes a Hard Left

After decades of NASCAR drivers literally turning left for hours every race day (road course races excluded, of course), the governing body appears to be taking a figurative left turn, politically. K-Var, a retailer in outdoor and ...

New Hampshire: House to Vote on Gov. Sununu's Vetoes of Anti-Gun Bills

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

New Hampshire: House to Vote on Gov. Sununu's Vetoes of Anti-Gun Bills

On Wednesday, September 18th, the New Hampshire House of Representatives will vote on Governor Chris Sununu's vetoes of three anti-gun bills sent to his desk by the General Court.  Anti-gun Representatives who remain stubbornly committed to ...

California: 2019 Legislative Session Adjourns

Sunday, September 15, 2019

California: 2019 Legislative Session Adjourns

The California Legislature has adjourned the 2019 session resulting in the final passage of AB 12, AB 61, AB 879, AB 893, AB 1254, AB 1297, AB 1669, SB 61 and SB 172 which are now eligible ...

California: Carson City Council to Hear Unconstitutional Resolution Targeting Lawful Firearm Possession and Sales

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

California: Carson City Council to Hear Unconstitutional Resolution Targeting Lawful Firearm Possession and Sales

Today, September 17 at 5pm PST, the Carson City Council will be considering a late addition to this evening’s City Council meeting, Resolution 19-1693.  ​The resolution is being pushed by Mayor Albert Robles in an effort to prohibit firearm ...

Monday, August 19, 2019

Florida Alert! "Assault Weapons" Ban Amendment Bans ALL SEMIAUTOMATIC RIFLES AND SHOTGUNS

The so-called "assault weapons" ban that is proposed for a constitutional amendment to be on the 2020 Election Ballot bans the possession of: “any semiautomatic rifle or shotgun CAPABLE of holding more than ten (10) rounds ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.