October 11, 2022

Is Crime Real or a Fox News Concoction?

According to one Washington Post columnist, the crime surge is largely a mirage fabricated by a cable news network.

“I was at Dave & Buster’s,” said a man to the 911 dispatcher. “I heard people screaming, I looked towards my right, and I see someone [laying] down. I’ve never seen anything like this, man.”

That “someone” was 18-year-old Elijah DeWitt — a son, brother, friend, student, and football star for the Jefferson Dragons, a high school northeast of Atlanta. He was murdered last Wednesday night, gunned down outside that restaurant in the parking lot of the Sugarloaf Mills Mall. Two suspects have since been arrested: one 18, the other 19. According to police detectives, “It appears that the suspects and the victim were familiar with each other and when they encountered each other in the parking lot, an altercation took place and then the shooting.”

We have no particular reason for highlighting this sad story above all others. Were it another day, another victim would be in the news. And that’s the point: We have a serious crime problem in this country, and the Democrats don’t like talking about it. But they have no choice. Behind inflation and the economy, it’s the issue that’s on most folks’ minds. As Natalie Andrews writes in The Wall Street Journal:

Republicans in competitive House and Senate districts are hitting Democrats with a barrage of ads focused on voters’ increased fears about the surge in violent crime in recent years, with the issue playing a central role in many tight races.

Republicans have called Democrats too tolerant of crime after social-justice protests in 2020 swept through the country over policing abuses, and have criticized some Democrats’ support of measures such as eliminating cash bail. They also have tied Democratic candidates to calls from activists to defund police departments and shift money to other resources.

But that’s not all. Philip Bump at The Washington Post wants you to believe all this talk about a crime surge is much ado about nothing. That when Elijah DeWitt gets gunned down at a shopping mall in Georgia, or when two young men get shot just outside of Congressman Lee Zeldin’s Long Island home, just feet away from his twin 16-year-old daughters, well, it’s merely a concoction of Fox News. Why? Because The Washington Post is, as always, running interference for the Democrats. There’s an election coming up, and the Post’s “journalists” know, as do the rest of us, that their fellow Democrats will soon be held accountable for their disastrously soft-on-crime policies.

“Crime is surging (in Fox News coverage),” reads the headline of Bump’s recent piece — a piece in which he reports that “murder and shooting incidents are down in New York City relative to last year, though violent crime in general is up,” and that the city “saw lower crime across the board [last year] than two or three decades ago, though, again, it’s now up relative to 2020.”

Then Bump writes, “Data released by the FBI on Wednesday suggested that violent crime nationally didn’t increase much in 2021 relative to 2020.” Got that? It didn’t increase much. This leaves us wondering what, exactly, Bump is trying to argue here, and why he’s blaming Fox News for reporting these facts.

But the weakness of his argument is only part of Bump’s problem. Jarrett Stepman at The Daily Signal gets to the other part of it, writing: “Bump used a Fox segment featuring political analyst Gianno Caldwell questioning Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., about the crime crisis as a jumping off point for his article. How dare Caldwell ask an elected official about crime? The thing is, it wasn’t just any member of the media asking questions. Caldwell’s brother was fatally shot in Chicago in June. It’s quite an exercise in gaslighting to dismiss Caldwell’s concern as just a Fox News narrative somehow divorced from reality.”

Caldwell didn’t take it lightly: “The Washington Post wrote about my segment,” he tweeted. “Dem leaders refused to answer my question on the Crime Crisis and he pretends it’s not legitimate. My brother and many others, were murdered in Chicago and the US this year. Don’t tell me there’s not a crisis.”

The FBI’s annual crime report was released last week, but whereas the report normally gets participation from 95% of agencies nationwide, a new data-collection system caused participation to drop to 65%. Among the non-submitters were the nation’s two most populous cities, New York City and Los Angeles, so plenty of estimation has been built in. Nonetheless, the report estimated that the rise in murders in the U.S. slowed in 2021, with murders rising 4% last year after increasing nearly 30% in 2020, while overall violent crimes dropped 1% in 2021, as robberies decreased.

The key language, of course, is that murders continued to rise in 2021. That they rose at a slower pace is hardly cause for celebration.

As Stepman concludes: “America is a more dangerous country, one where criminals are emboldened and law-abiding citizens are forced to do more to protect themselves or risk becoming victims. It’s why Americans’ worries about crime are at their highest level since 2016. That’s not a narrative, or a conspiracy. It’s reality.”

Crime is most definitely a big problem, and it’s not a Fox News concoction. Four months ago, our Mark Alexander detailed the surge in violence Biden and his Democrats unleashed on our nation in 2020, when they were advocating for the rioting “Black Lives Matter” radicals and simultaneously demanding we defund the police. While the corrupt BLM movement is imploding and Biden is now trying to recast himself as the “fund the police” president, the surge in violence continues to rise.

The soft-on-crime Democrats will have their reckoning on November 8.

Updated with additional FBI crime statistics and other analysis.

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