The path from research to reporting reminds me a lot of the old game “Telephone.”
Telephone was a game played with a group of people lined up in a row. The first person whispers a message to the person next to them and the process is repeated down the line. The last person then announces the last received message, which is often very different than the original.
When one combines questionable research with sensationalistic reporting, one finds not only is the report misleading but it has become necessary to go back to the original research to determine what was actually said.
Add this confusion to deliberate use of misleading terms in the reporting of firearm usage, such as the “epidemic of gun violence” including incidents not usually considered as violence. As a matter of fact, some dictionaries have actually expanded their definitions of violence to include self-harm.
This has actually evolved into a calculated deception of the American people.
As I have mentioned before, a Marist survey commissioned by NPR and the PBS Newshour was conducted in the first week of February of this year.
The poll was focused on gun laws and the questions were phrased as one would expect from a survey sponsored by NPR and PBS.
The last question asked was whether the participant, based on what they had seen or heard, believed that the “gun murder” rate had risen, stayed the same, or gone down in the past 25 years.
59% of those survey believed the rate had gone up; 23% believed it was about the same.
2017 is the most recent year for which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released full-year data on homicides in the U.S. That would make 1993 the first year in a 25-year span.
According to the CDC’s fatal injury reports for 1993 to 2017, the “gun murder rate,” or rate of homicide committed with a firearm, plunged more than 36%.
So 82% of people participating in the Marist survey and giving all the right answers were concerned about a problem that doesn’t even exist. Perhaps if anyone had told them the truth, the results of that survey might have been different.
The death toll from accidental gunshots nosedived nearly 75% in the same period, falling from 1,521 in 1993 to 486 in 2017.
So the “epidemic of gun violence” is actually an epidemic of suicide. It’s also part of the carefully crafted and endlessly repeated Big Lie. If one is going to lie, make it a big lie and repeat it endlessly: people will come to accept it as truth.
And that’s exactly what has been going on. The medicine show is in full swing and the hucksters are working overtime to peddle snake-oil as miracle cures.
This type of research is why the Dickey Amendment was created and passed. While the CDC’s funding budget for all sorts of studies, including research into firearms, it’s still available for non-advocacy research. It can’t be used to promote the Big Lie.