More broadcast journalism

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Sun May 2 13:25:38 UTC 2010

> Arizona's crime rate in 2008 (the latest year for =
which final statistics are available) was the lowest since 1966 (or =
since 1971 if only violent crimes are considered).

In the words of Spock, fascinating. Whenever the words "crime" and "now" are
uttered in the same sentence by a pundit, one tends to assume that
things must be worse then ever.

Yet despite the diminishing overall rate, there may still have been a marked
increase in the rate of crime, esp. violent crime, committed by alien drug
cartels and illegal immigrants. My media-based impression is that this is
true in Phoenix and some other areas. But if it is the case, it should be
made clear. (I for one still don't know whether it's the case or not.)

Either way, though, the new law itself seems increasingly absurd as a way of
addressing either problem - violent crime or illegal immigrants. And violent
crime is generally offered as the rationale.

Could it be that the majority of Arizona politicians are more interested in
kissing frightened voter butt than in dealing effectively with either crime
or immigration?  They used to just kiss babies.

Or so it's said.


On Sat, May 1, 2010 at 10:49 PM, Baker, John M. <JMB at> wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Baker, John M." <JMB at STRADLEY.COM>
> Subject:      Re: More broadcast journalism
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Although Dave Wilton's point is important, the claim is misleading in a =
> more fundamental way.  Anyone hearing that Arizona now has a crime rate =
> equal to or greater than that of New York City might presume that this =
> means that Arizona's crime rate is on the increase.  As shown at this =
> chart at, however, that =
> is not the case.  Arizona's crime rate in 2008 (the latest year for =
> which final statistics are available) was the lowest since 1966 (or =
> since 1971 if only violent crimes are considered).  If Arizona's crime =
> rate has surpassed New York City's, it is only because the New York rate =
> has dropped even more dramatically.
> =20
> When I see information presented in such a misleading way, I can't help =
> but think that it was intentional.  Somebody had to look at the =
> statistics for both Arizona and New York City and come up with a way of =
> telling us something that they knew would create a false impression.
> =20
> =20
> John Baker
> =20
> =20
> ________________________________
> From: American Dialect Society on behalf of Dave Wilton
> Sent: Sat 5/1/2010 9:54 AM
> Subject: Re: More broadcast journalism
>  Plus it's comparing a state with a city. Arizona has a population of 6.5
> million, NYC 8.3 million. It wouldn't be terribly surprising if total =
> crime
> in Arizona was similar to that of NYC. One might expect it to be about =
> 25%
> lower, given the somewhat smaller population, but other factors might =
> drive
> it up.
> Not to mention that NYC's violent crime rate is relatively low. The bad =
> old
> days of the 70s and 80s are long gone. This Wikipedia page, which gives =
> 2008
> FBI statistics ranks NYC 55th in violent crime and 75th in property =
> crime.
> Even Anchorage, Alaska is higher.
> But the FBI says this about its crime statistics:
> "Each year when 'Crime in the United States' is published, some entities =
> use
> reported figures to compile rankings of cities and counties. These rough
> rankings provide no insight into the numerous variables that mold crime =
> in a
> particular town, city, county, state, or region. Consequently, they lead =
> to
> simplistic and/or incomplete analyses that often create misleading
> perceptions adversely affecting communities and their residents. Valid
> assessments are possible only with careful study and analysis of the =
> range
> of unique conditions affecting each local law enforcement jurisdiction. =
> *The
> data user is, therefore, cautioned against comparing statistical data of
> individual reporting units from cities, metropolitan areas, states, or
> colleges or universities solely on the basis of their population =
> coverage or
> student enrollment.*"
> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf =
> Of
> Bill Palmer
> Sent: Saturday, May 01, 2010 6:15 AM
> Subject: More broadcast journalism
> Twice in the past few days (Lou Dobbs this morning + one other time a =
> few
> days ago by someone else, but I don't remember who) conservative
> commentators have asserted that Arizona now has a crime rate equal to =
> that
> of NYC.  That seems unremarkable.  I'm sure there are many places with =
> crime
> rates that equal or exceed NYC's...Detroit, Richmond, St, Louis, =
> Atlanta,
> maybe.
> It would only be noteworty if there was an equal amount of total crime,
> nest-ce pas?
> Bill Palmer
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - =
> <>=20
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - =
> <>=20
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

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