When Bari Weiss wrote in her resignation letter from The New York Times earlier in the week that editors at these liberal publications start at a narrative and work backward, she perfectly summarized everything that is wrong with the media.
The Washington Post decided to go out and prove her even more correct this morning by publishing what is one of the worst, most poorly cited articles I’ve ever read.
Analysis: Spring gun-buying binge, fueled by social upheaval, leads to spike in violent crime, new research shows https://t.co/020C3SMbBv
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) July 15, 2020
Americans purchased millions more guns than usual this spring, spurred in large part by racial animosity stoked by widespread protests over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, as well as anxiety over the effects of the covid-19 pandemic.
That gun-buying binge is associated with a significant increase in gun violence across the United States.
Perhaps the author of this piece doesn’t know what associated is? It delineates some kind of direct connection. I ate hot wings last night and live in the United States. Am I now “associated” with the recent spike in gun violence across the country?
By the standards laid forth in this article, I suppose so. In fact, what you’ll find in the piece is a bunch of nonsensical dot-connecting which doesn’t actually show the increase in legal gun purchases has anything to do with gangs killing people in Chicago and New York. Once you get down to the end, the Post finally admits that.
The authors caution that a study of this nature cannot prove causality, particularly at a time of massive social upheaval in a country dealing with an unprecedented public health crisis as well as a nationwide protest movement.
In other words, both these “studies” simply counted up total gun sales, compared them to previous years and months, and then decided that explains why people are shooting each other in liberal cities with extremely strict gun laws. There is no actual causality shown because it doesn’t exist. The guy in Arkansas buying a new rifle is not responsible for a person shooting a child in New York.
Of course, no article at the Post would be complete without overtures to blaming racism. That lead to this laughable paragraph.
“We find that states where individuals are more likely to search for racial epithets experienced larger increases in June firearm sales,” they wrote, “even after adjusting for the personal security concerns that likely generated the March spikes in gun sales.”
How’d they come to that conclusion? By tallying up google-searched-for racial epithets. What that’s actually a measure of is anyone’s guess, but the insinuation here is that people are buying guns because they are racists and are scared of minorities protesting.
Of course, there may be a kernel of truth to that idea, though it has nothing to do with racism. People in these states with the most upheaval are buying guns to protect themselves if necessary. It’s not because they are racist, it’s because they are smart.
In the end, the Post shows zero actual correlation between legal gun sales and the murder rate spikes in these blue cities. But they did their level best to try to frame it as connected. Welcome to journalism in 2020.