Charen is another one of those former conservative pundits, like George Will, Bill Kristol, Max Boot and Jennifer Rubin, who was so repulsed by Donald Trump that she flip-flopped on all her previously held principles and became a Democratic Party shill. But channeling the late, memorable D.C. Marion Barry, a lovable rogue, is something new.
In 1989, then-Mayor Barry told a luncheon audience at the National Press Club. ″Except for the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country.″ In the midst of a drugs and murder crime explosion, Barry’s comment was mocked in the news media from end to end of the ideological spectrum, because, after all, it was an incredibly stupid thing to say. But those were still the days when journalism, though already corrupted, biased and crumbling, hadn’t completely rotted away. Today, however, almost all of the mockery has come from the Right, while the mainstream media pundits have been largely silent—after all, Mona is just trying to save democracy.
One notable exception is left-leaning Washington Post columnist Helaine Olen, who wrote in reaction to Charen’s tweet, “I can’t believe this still needs to be said but ‘crime is down except for murder’ is not a winning or persuasive argument.”
Moreover, the Pew study that Charen relied on made it quite clear that the raw statistics are misleading, starting with the fact that there are no comparable statistics on 2022 yet, and the perception that crime has gotten worse, even if you don’t count murder, may in fact be true. Plus…
- The accuracy of the statistics is in question: “The most recent version of the FBI study shows no rise in the national violent crime rate between 2020 and 2021. That said, there is considerable uncertainty around the FBI’s figures for 2021 because of a transition to a new data collection system. The FBI reported an increase in the violent crime rate between 2019 and 2020, when the previous data collection system was still in place.” Pew also explains that estimates from some nongovernmental organizations do point to an increase in certain kinds of violent crime in 2022, such as the Major Cities Chiefs Association. That organization of police executives representing large cities, estimates that robberies and aggravated assaults increased in the first six months of this year compared with the same period the year before. The mid-year report of the Council on Criminal Justice also showed crimes other than murder increasing significantly in cities in 2022.
- Murder is up significantly. “Both the FBI and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a roughly 30% increase in the U.S. murder rate between 2019 and 2020, marking one of the largest year-over-year increases ever recorded. The FBI’s latest data, as well as provisional data from the CDC, suggest that murders continued to rise in 2021.” Pew goes on to point out that the murder rate was even worse in the 1990s, so I guess the rise in killings is OK after all. Just kidding: “This isn’t as bad a murder surge as we’ve had in the past when the streets ran red” is also “not a winning or persuasive argument.”
- “Some voters could be reacting to conditions in their own communities rather than at the national level. Violent crime is a heavily localized phenomenon, and the national violent crime rate may not reflect conditions in Americans’ own neighborhoods.” Once more time: Ya think?