Political Editors / September 11, 2019

Debunking Another ‘Hate Crime’ Study

A study claiming that Trump rallies increased hate crimes by 226% is proven false.

One of the favored attacks Democrats and the Leftmedia love to level against President Donald Trump is the assertion that his rhetoric incites hatred, which in turn leads to violence. Following the murderous attack in El Paso last month, several Democrat presidential candidates insisted that Trump was to blame. Bernie Sanders claimed, “[Trump’s] language creates a climate which emboldens violent extremists,” while Beto O'Rourke argued that Trump’s rhetoric “has a lot to do with” the attack. Kamala Harris made the absurd claim that Trump was guilty of “tweeting out ammunition” for the perpetrator.

This notion that Trump’s political rhetoric is somehow more toxic and dangerous than any previous politician’s seemingly received scientific validation earlier this year. Three professors at the University of North Texas produced a study in which they claimed that counties having hosted a Trump rally saw a 226% increase in hate crimes. It didn’t take long for the Leftmedia to trumpet the unverified study as if it were the gospel truth, with such outlets as The Washington Post, CNN, and Vox claiming it was further evidence supporting their narrative of Trump fomenting white nationalism.

However, as has repeatedly been the case over the entirety of Trump’s presidency, the Leftmedia is guilty of peddling fake news. As National Review reports, the study “is fatally flawed in its methodology, according to a new analysis by two economics P.h.D. students at Harvard University.” The two economic Ph.D. students, Matthew Lilley and Brian Wheaton, found that replicating the methodology used by the study’s authors and applying it to Hillary Clinton’s campaign rallies resulted in an equally if not higher spike in hate crimes. So, was Clinton’s rhetoric to blame? Not likely.

The key that exposes the study’s flawed methodology lies in demographics. As Lilley and Wheaton explained, “Adding a simple statistical control for county population to the original analysis causes the estimated effect of Trump rallies on reported hate incidents to become statistically indistinguishable from zero.” The two added, “The study is wrong, and yet journalists ran with it anyway.” Confirmation bias runs strong in Leftmedia “journalism.”

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