Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sixteen Grafs Down, the Real Story Emerges

Sykes and Belling have pointed out for years that the REAL newspaper story usually begins around paragraph 15 (or later.)

So it is with the "less US households have guns" stuff from the Slimes.

Let's just go to the real stuff:

...Detailed data on gun ownership is scarce. [So whatever shows up is reliable?]  Though some states reported household gun ownership rates in the 1990s, it was not until the early 2000s that questions on the presence of guns at home were asked on a broad federal public health survey of several hundred thousand people, making it possible to see the rates in all states. 

But by the mid-2000s, the federal government stopped asking the questions, leaving researchers to rely on much smaller surveys, like the General Social Survey, which is conducted by NORC, a research center at the University of Chicago. 

Measuring the level of gun ownership can be a vexing problem, with various recent national polls reporting rates between 35 percent and 52 percent. Responses can vary because the survey designs and the wording of questions differ.  [So we'll simply assert "much less" as a fact, eh?]

But researchers say the survey done by the center at the University of Chicago is crucial because it has consistently tracked gun ownership since 1973, asking if respondents “happen to have in your home (or garage) any guns or revolvers.”

[Huh?  Just because it has 'consistently tracked gun ownership' makes their numbers "better"?]

The center’s 2012 survey, conducted mostly in person but also by phone, involved interviews with about 2,000 people from March to September and had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.

[Red flag:  few will speak openly to a random person on their doorstep.  I didn't when some Impeach Walker critter-ette showed up here, e.g.]

Gallup, which asks a similar question but has a different survey design, shows a higher ownership rate and a more moderate decrease. No national survey tracks the number of guns within households. [Yah.  They estimate 47% in 2011--before the huge gun-buys really began (which was just after Newtown.]

There's more!

 ...The survey was... paid for by the National Science Foundation (a government entity), and analysis presented  in the Times article was done by Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy Research, an organisation that receives funding from anti-gun groups like the Joyce Foundation. The Johns Hopkins Center operates under the auspices of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

In the end, the NYT/Hopkins stuff is irrelevant, of course, except as propaganda.  But it is a good lesson on "how 'news' is written" these days.

HT:  Sipsey 

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