Slate Gives Us A Lovely Example Of Deceit

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Thanks, Slate!

A lot of people have trouble with the concept of deceit, which is the intentional use of apparently true statements to deceive. Now I have a wonderful example to give them, thanks to Slate’s use of the most sneaky of lies as its recent contribution to the Post Sandy Hook Ethics Train Wreck, Media Anti-gun Propaganda Division.

Slate compiled a list it called “How Many People Have Been Killed By Guns Since Newtown,” and illustrated it with an “infographic.” The list was widely used in the current “those crazy Republican gun nuts have blood on their hands” campaign led by the President, the Vice President, Mayor Bloomberg and others.  The list is unreliable, however, as an advocacy device, since one of the names it includes is Boston Marathon terrorist Tamerlan Tsarnaev, killed in a shootout with police. How many other gun casualties are on the list that are perfectly justified, legally and ethically, unless one is an anti-gum absolutist who thinks neither the police nor other law enforcement should have access to firearms either? Quite a few, it turns out.

The only explanation for including Tsarnaev (and the others) is to mislead the public and inflame fear and passion by maximizing the raw number of names on the “shooting death list.” Yes, this is literally an accurate (I guess) list of every gun death since Newtown, but if the purpose of the list is to dramatize the need for anti-gun measures in the wake of the Sandy Hood shooting, why is a Boston Marathon child-killer on the list? What does his death have to do with the defeat of gun-control legislation in the Newtown aftermath, or the Newtown massacre generally? Nothing…except that it inflates the number, to be used in fear-mongering and misrepresentation. And that is exactly how Slate’s list is being used…as if it didn’t know. Those defeated, Newtown-inspired anti-gun measures would not have have saved the terrorist, nor does anyone sane wish they could have. Continue reading