NPR Wildly Overstates, Over-hypes, US Mass Shooting Numbers


  • NPR plays lying games with statistics in order to make US seem like abnormal outlier for mass shootings
  • NPR uses the widest definition possible of mass shooting in order to over-include incidents
  • Fails to account for US population, which when compared to other countries shows US rate is relatively average

OUR RATING: #FakeNews. This is what you’d expect on CNN playing to an empty airport.

Indicted Outlet: Saaed Ahmed | National Public Radio | Link | Archive | 5/25/22

NPR, hoping to use recent shooting tragedies in order to advance their shared goal of irrational gun control, published a story claiming that the United States leads the world in mass shootings.

Their attempt to create collective guilt combined with instilling guilt by geography by indicting all Americans for what they perceive as ‘lax’ gun control, is at odds with the facts that the US is not a leader in global mass shootings or killings.

Reporter Saaed Ahmed attempts to do these things by cherry picking statistics to engage in statistics abuse, resulting in a major misrepresentation of the source material and the underlying phrase “mass shooting.”

Major Violations:

  • Misrepresentation
  • Misusing a word
  • Cherry Picking
  • Statistics Abuse
  • Collective Guilt
  • Guilt by Geography

Almost every aspect of statistics around guns are hyper-politicized by the academic left in order to advance the goal of gun confiscation.

Here’s the central frame of the NPR story summed up in one sentence:

“Mass shootings happen in the U.S. with depressing regularity.”

But each key phrase used to define these incidents, “mass shooting,” carries with it certain assumptions and prejudices used to accomplish a political result.

The NPR goal is not contextualizing the story or giving any sort of balance to the story, it is merely about telling whatever lie with statistics necessary to advance the cause of gun control.

For example, the phrase “gun violence” is abused by left-wing gun control ideologues to include suicides by gun. The US is the only country to count suicides as gun violence. [1]

“Mass shootings” are defined by NPR and its supporting organizations in this story as an incident involving a gun where four people are merely injured.

This is one of the broadest possible interpretations that would tend to over-include data into any survey on actual gun violence.

However NPR is not using even the standard definition of ‘mass shooting.’ There is no standard definition, making easy comparisons very difficult. [2] NPR does not acknowledge that there is dispute as to the definition, engaging in statistics abuse to its readers.

If you examine the per capita rates of deaths from mass shooting, you can see that the United States is 11th on the list. [3]

As well, research into those numbers shows further that the rate of mass shootings are lower than average for the rest of the world, and the attacks are less severe. [4]

Over the 18 years from 1998 to 2015, our list contains 2,354 attacks and at least 4,880 shooters outside the United States and 53 attacks and 57 shooters within our country. By our count, the US makes up less than 1.15% of the mass public shooters, 1.49% of their murders, and 2.20% of their attacks. All these are much less than the US’s 4.6% share of the world population. Attacks in the US are not only less frequent than other countries, but they are also much less deadly on average.

That research was criticized by the unreliable Dan MacGuill at Snopes, who cherry picked the data so as to suppress evidence of mass shootings he thought were ‘outliers.’  [5]

But even Snopes had to begrudingly admit that the research was fundamentally accurate: the US does not have an exceptional mass shooting rate compared to the rest of the world, and in many cases its mass shooting rate is lower than the average. Because the United States is so much larger than other countries, they have one-time events in small countries and several-a-year incidents in the United States, which is not all that abnormal given the population disparities.

NPR provides none of this necessary missing context.

As well, the same research points out that the United States is:

“…64th in the per capita frequency of these [mass shooting] attacks and 65th in the murder rate.”

None of this necessary missing context is in the NPR story.

OUR RATING: #FakeNews. This is what you’d expect on CNN playing to an empty airport.

Bibliography:
1 ] https://www.thetrace.org/2021/12/gun-violence-suicide-rate-data-shooting-deaths/
2 ] https://injepijournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40621-019-0226-7
3 ] https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/mass-shootings-by-country
4 ] https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3289010
5 ] https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/united-states-lower-death-shootings/



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