by Jim Kofalt
Every week when I’m in church, I pick up the latest issue of Our Sunday Visitor (OSV), a weekly Catholic newspaper. I like to flip through it and see what the left-leaning editors are peddling this week. Much of what OSV prints is non-political, but they always seem to sprinkle in a handful of left-wing musings about white privilege or the evils of border security. Stylistically, OSV is not in the same category as MSNBC or HuffPo; their approach is far more subtle. Rather than wearing their left-wing ideology on their sleeves, the editors of OSV prefer to gently nudge their readers in the right leftward direction. And they have no qualms about lying to achieve those ends.
Take, for example, a recent feature article in OSV about gun violence. On the face of it, the article made no overt calls for gun control. In fact, I agree with some of the points in the article, e.g. that violence is a symptom of underlying problems in our culture. Yet I can’t help feeling that the author, Brian Fraga, isn’t quite as objective as he claims to be.
Fraga has added “statistics” from the Gun Violence Archive (GVA) to his article – presumably to make a point about the seriousness of the “gun violence problem”. GVA claims that there have been 325 “mass shootings” to date in the US in 2018. The publication date on this article was December 5th, which means that according to GVA, there has been a “mass shooting” virtually every day in the US throughout the year.
If you consider the meaning of the phrase “mass shooting” as most people would understand it, this doesn’t even pass the sniff test. Even the article’s author – Brian Fraga – doesn’t seem to think we have that many mass shootings. In fact one line in his article laments that we have “a new mass shooting seemingly in the headlines every month” (emphasis added). That would amount to an estimated year-to-date total of 11 mass shootings… not 325. An alternate analysis of the data puts the number at less than 10. To be sure, the desirable number is zero. But distorting the facts to amp up people’s sense of urgency around gun-control is not journalism; it’s propaganda.
Ironically, Brian Fraga was on Twitter earlier this week defending the media, which he says is unfairly accused of bias. It’s just a talk-radio talking-point, he says (and of course, “Russia, Russia, Russia!!!”):
So I asked him about his own bias and the use of GVA statistics to support his article:
His response was simply to repeat the citation, i.e. to restate the fact that GVA is his source for these statistics.
… which is to say, “I don’t wanna talk about it!”
It’s time we call BS on BF. In case you missed it, his twitter handle is @brianfraga.