Fake News: A Beautiful Specimen Dissected

Someone told me there is an increase in hate crimes because of Trump. I said that’s not true, they are mostly hoaxes. The person said no, they aren’t. I did a Google search and found an article in The Independent titled “Hate Crimes Rise by more than Half in New York City Due to Surge in Anti-Semitism.” I opened the article. I read it. Here’s what happened:

The headline would have you think synagogues are being bombed and Hasidics are being assaulted in the streets. But if you actually read the article (which few people do), you’ll find a much different story.

First off, what kinds of “hate crimes” are we talking about here? Here are the first semi-specific examples:

“Crimes listed included swastikas appearing on subways and a bomb threat at the Manhattan Anti-Defamation League.”

People shouldn’t draw swastikas on subways, nor should they call in bomb threats. But did anyone get killed? Hurt? Did anyone break a nail? Are we sure these incidents were perpetrated by anti-Semites and not hoaxers?

Next, we get some statistics:

“A total of 56 hate crimes were reported in the city as of 12 February this year…”

56 hate crimes were “reported”? What does that have to do with hate crimes committed? The headline says “hate crimes” while the article discusses “hate crimes reported”. These are not the same. If I report that twenty hot chicks ask for my phone number every day, it does not mean it actually happens.

The article then relates what’s going on in New York to what’s going on across the nation:

“The surge in hate crimes follows a national trend, in which police say they are fielding increasing reports and concerns.”

Reports and concerns? Oh, my! People don’t go to jail over reports and concerns. They go to jail over violations of the law proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

Waiting for President Trump’s name to be thrown into this? Here’s beloved mayor Bill de Blasio:

“‘You can’t have a candidate for president single out groups of Americans, negatively, and not have some ramifications for that,’ Mr de Blasio said, ‘it’s obviously connected to the election.’”

“You can’t,” he says… because he knows these things. He’s the mayor! Listen to how sure he is! It’s “obvious,” he says. Powerful stuff. Compelling and rich.

Here’s where it gets really fun:

“Police officials confirmed that hate crimes do rise and fall in relation to high profile, national and international events…”

Oh, so this normally happens? It’s not just when candidates “single out groups of Americans?” This might have been useful near the top of the article. Why, oh, why would it be buried in the thirteenth paragraph? I wonder…

For a cherry on top, here’s the second to last paragraph:

“Overall, crime figures continued to decline during the first month of 2017. NYPD Chief of Detective Robert Boyce said the hike in hate crimes had since ‘levelled off.'”

So, it’s all over? There is no more increase in (reported) hate crimes? The reaction to Trump’s election was like any other “high profile” event? There is nothing to see here?

That’s weird, especially considering the headline that uses the word “surged” to describe a jump from 31 to 56 incidents in a city of 8.5 million.

Fake News: A Beautiful Specimen Dissected

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