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Balanced Fare: We Report, You Deride

Thursday, June 19, 2003

TAPPED Sends Me Down The Rabbit Hole

This post criticized Dave Kopel for his reference to the NY Times coverage of the Appalcahia Law School shooting. I vaguely remembered the incident - law school shooter subdued by armed students, which the media covered up - so I was surprised to think that TAPPED might be right about this. A quick check showed that Kopel was wrong about the NY Times reporting, as Kopel admitted and TAPPED duly noted.

But even before Kopel posted his correction, I was hooked. The story I remembered was from a John Lott article, and I expect I came to it via the InstaPundit. Bill Quick, the Daily Pundit, also mentioned the story as an example of media bias here and here.

Now, a brief pause for a moment of confusion - Bill Quick refers to NY Times coverage as ignoring the armed students, which was also Kopel's (corrected) point. It turns out that the NY Times initially posted an early AP story on their website. Later, the Times reporter added the "armed students" bit, so Quick was right. If Kopel had stayed away from a byline and excerpts, he would have had a defensible position. Hard luck, Dave.

But the real gold is in the information put together by Tim Lambert, and linked by TAPPED. The very quick summary of the Appalachia Law School shooting:

Different witnesses saw different things, which is understandable. Some reporters simply did not know that some of the students were armed. Some of the students did not know, for that matter. So rather than an example of media bias, this incident may be an example of confused witnesses and a rapid, "moving on" news cycle.

Secondly, the armed students were trained law enforcement officers. Bill Quick predicted that the media would focus on this as part of their bias against armed citizens. The critic Lambert cites says, well, shouldn't they? Most gun controllers still support arming law enforcement officers. The notion that this incident is an example of the virtues of an armed citizenry is just false, and Lott is deceiving us by concealing that fact in his own article on the incident.

Hmm, good point. And this is the very same John Lott with the statistical and survey puzzles hanging over his research. Not good.

Anyway, Tim Lambert updates his thoughts on this here, and leaves me wondering about where this goes next.

Tim Lambert is going after this with Lexis, Nexis, and concealed nukes. If he would turn his powers to something more socially desirable, it would be a better world. But I wonder whether some Lott supporters or gun enthusiasts have attempted to rally a convincing counter-argument. Presuming, of course, that there are Lott supporters (probable), and plausible counter-arguments on this incident (doubtful).

Mark Kleiman has taken the anti-Lott side. How do we rally the pro-Lotters? Are there any? Lott has a new book on media bias, so this ought to be topical.


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