6/14/2015

Media Matters misdirects on FBI report on mass shootings


Media Matters has put out its typical misinformation.  This time on Jason Riley's piece on the now acknowledged errors in the FBI report on public shootings.  As I wrote last October in a post at the Crime Prevention Research Center:
While the FBI report provides graphs illustrating “active shooting incidents,” not mass shootings, given the way that the report was written, the media has understandably interpreted the report as implying that mass public shootings have massively increased over time. . . .
The bottom line here is that neither Media Matters nor some of the authors from a FBI report on public shootings were able to defend the data used in the FBI report so they focus on a red herring, whether the media got confused about the report being on mass public shootings.  Media Matters doesn't even try to defend the 20 missing mass shooting cases that should clearly have been included in the Blair and Martaindale data set.  Nor does Media Matters try to defend the way that the FBI report measured active shooter cases.

Jason Riley explicitly mentions that Blair and Martaindale complain that the media misunderstood their point on the issue of Mass shootings/active shooters (Riley writes: "[Blair and Martaindale] said that the news media “got it wrong” last year when they 'mistakenly reported mass shootings were on the rise'”, Riley provides a directly link to their piece in the ACJS, and John Lott's report explicitly spends a great deal of time discussing the problems with their measure of "active shooters."  Whether one wants to lump together mass public shootings with cases where a shot is fired in public and no one is hit, Lott's point was that Blair and Martaindale's measure of these active shooter cases is biased towards picking up just recent cases and thus tends to make it look as if there were an increase in public shootings over time.  

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