Breitbart Takes An Early Lead In The ‘Stupidest Article Of The Year’ Contest: On Gun-Related Deaths

The year is only about two weeks old but a strong entry has already been made to capture the “Stupidest Article Of The Year” award. And to no one’s surprise, a perennial favorite in the competition to achieve Olympian idiocy has leaped to front of the pack.

Breitbart

Breitbart News has few rivals when it comes to jaw-dropping dimwittedness. And they have once again proven their mettle with an article sporting the headline “Less Than One Percent Of Deaths In 2011 Were Gun-Related.” Here’s an excerpt:

“The media regularly twists gun numbers to make gun-related deaths appear predominant over every other type of death in this country. However, a rational examination of how small the percentage of gun-related deaths are when compared to the overall number of deaths in any given year helps one to see through the hype.”

The blockheads at Breitbart are actually trying to deceptively distort the argument by comparing the number of deaths by guns to the total number of all deaths, including old age, disease, accidents, and auto-erotic asphyxiation (that last one was thrown in as a frame of reference for the Breitbrats who probably have personal experience with it).

Over two and a half million people died in 2011 for all combined reasons. It is utterly irrelevant to compare that number to just the deaths caused by guns and conclude that such deaths are therefore not a problem. A proper analysis would be to compare gun-related deaths to other types of similar fatalities. But by the perverse logic employed by the Breitbrats tuberculosis, AIDS, asthma, influenza, Parkinson’s disease, leukemia, and prostate or ovarian cancers are also not a problem. According to the Centers for Disease Control they all have death rates that are less than or equivalent to gun-related deaths. So rest easy America.

If all of that weren’t bad enough, the Breitbrats can’t even get their statistics straight. Their article claims that “in 2011, the total number of gun-related deaths was 8,583.” However, the actual number is 32,163 – a discrepancy of a mere 375 percent. That’s the sort of buffoonery that will make Breitbart a challenge to defeat as the year in stupid progresses. So congratulations to them on their world-class ignorance, and to the other contenders (i.e. Fox News, Daily Caller, WorldNetDaily, Newsbusters, et al), Don’t give up, the year is still young.

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10 thoughts on “Breitbart Takes An Early Lead In The ‘Stupidest Article Of The Year’ Contest: On Gun-Related Deaths

  1. http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2011/jan/10/gun-crime-us-state

    Not sure what the Guardian’s source was, but you chose to single out Breitbart. Hardly objective.

    http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr61/nvsr61_06.pdf

    If you look at page 19 of the CDC’s “Deaths: Preliminary Data for 2011″, the number of homicide deaths by discharge of a firearm is 11,101. Suicide gun deaths were 19,766. The total of the two is 30,867.

    From this info, it would appear that Breitbart’s (and the heretofore unmentioned The Guardian) numbers are closer to being correct in the context of gun violence than yours. If suicide deaths by firearms are included, the number approaches yours.

    Having said that, Breitbart is trying to use numbers that reflect one point of view that isn’t yours, and I can understand that. Exaggeration and manipulation of numbers is not a weapon wielded solely by the Right. The number you use to dispel Breitbart is equally deceptive since you don’t reveal that 2/3 of them were suicides. I’m not trying to minimize suicide by firearms, just your conclusion that a number used was deceptive when another conclusion was plainly obvious, all the while being deceptive yourself.

    Where do you lie on the buffoonery continuum?

    • John, Breitbart specifically cited “the total number of gun-related deaths,” and said that was only 8,583. That is simply not true. And you made the same mistake by singling out gun “violence,” which is also not “the total number.” I am using the actual figures when I cite the total number: 32,163.

      Perhaps Breitbart meant to say only homicides, but that is not what they said. So my criticism of them for getting their stats wrong is valid.

      It appears the Guardian is using FBI data that is for gun “murders” only. Again, not all gun-related deaths. But the Guardian did not misrepresent their stats as “total” gun deaths. They consistently referred to “murders” and “crime” when referring to their numbers. What’s more, the Guardian did not make the stupid comparison of gun deaths to all deaths from any cause, which is what earned Breitbart this award.

      So there was nothing deceptive about what I wrote. It was 100% correct. I was only responding to the errors made by Breitbart. You should be more careful before you condemn someone to the falsely buffoonery continuum.

      • I take your point, Mark. But it might have been a good idea to detail the portion of the Breitbart article where the actual inaccuracy occurred or at least link to it.

        The thrust of my comments were in reference to the last paragraph of your article. While I’m sure you will disagree, suicide deaths by firearms has not been the issue around which the recent discussion over gun control has occurred. While it is relevant purely from a human suffering perspective, including those numbers these days in a discussion about gun control in the context of Sandy Hook, “assault weapons”, gun violence, etc. is not relevant.

        You are essentially splitting hairs by pointing out the inaccuracy of Breitbart’s numbers and concluding this was done to deceive. Perhaps that is so, but no more deceptive than the omission of suicides in your comments in that last paragraph.

        • But, John, this is not a discussion about gun control. The only point of this post is that Breitbart is stupid for getting their stats wrong and comparing numbers that are not comparable. I did not “include” any numbers, I merely commented on the erroneous numbers that Breitbart cited.

          With regard to pointing out the inaccuracy of Breitbart’s numbers, that isn’t “splitting hairs,” that’s the whole point of this column. You’re trying to change the subject. You’re trying to make points about gun control that are not in any way a part of what I wrote.

          While I do support some reasonable firearms regulations, that is not the subject of this column. And someone who opposes such regulations ought to be able to agree that Breitbart’s column is idiotic and flat out wrong.

    • John –

      You seem to be having trouble recognizing that suicide by gun is a gun-related death.

      What does Breitbart’s big, bold print statement say? Is it accurate?

      No, and sacrificing yourself in an attempt to equivocate away the problem of their (either intentional or not) buffoonery isn’t going to do anything more than make us wonder if both simple english and simple mathematics – and perhaps also simple ethics – are becoming seriously difficult for the Breitbart crowd to grasp.

  2. Even one half of one percent of 2.5 million is a big number! If that many people were killed by a pharmaceutical product there would be holy hell to pay and rightfully so.

    • Mark,

      It seems we are getting caught up with numbers that are being used to further one point of view or another. This post may have been about Breitbart’s poor use of numbers, but it is all in the greater context of guns, gun violence, the gun control debate, etc.

      If we want to use relevant numbers, let’s us the number of mass killings over the past 20-30 years using firearms as TIME magazine did. The sudden political reaction to Sandy Hook clearly demonstrates our leaders could care less about greater gun violence around the country. Most of what has been proposed will not make anybody safer and won’t solve any problems.

      Since you report “on the news”, perhaps an article or two about how liberal media’s reporting on gun control has been “Sandy Hook-centric” and generally ignored how the solutions presented won’t solve the problem, might be in order…and with the same enthusiasm with which you criticize that media outlet.

      Somehow I doubt that will happen.

      • If you don’t like the subjects I choose to write about you can start your won blog and write about whatever you want. In the meantime, don’t try change the subject here. Breitbart is a site populated by idiots and you can’t dispute that so you try to create a distraction. We’re not falling for it.

        • I like the subjects of your blog, although I disagree with a lot of what you have to say. You can write about what you like — it’s your blog. However, if you’re going to allow comments, I will make whatever comments I feel are appropriate in response to not only your subject matter, but your own bias. You are welcome to block me from commenting or even seeing your blog if you like.

          Just as Breitbart is biased, so is your blog. I’m not judging anybody’s intellect. However, your elitist, dismissive attitude towards anyone who isn’t in lock step with your way of thinking demonstrates how much you are a legend in your own mind.

          The day I see an article that is as dismissive of something the Left states, I’ll accept that you report “on the news”. Until then, you’re just a lefty hack with a blind obsession against anything conservative.

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