Great Moments in Headline Writing: The Daily Caller

Or maybe this post should really be called great moments in journalists noting violations of conventional media wisdom. But that’s a little wordy don’tcha think? In a recent piece, the DC takes note that the continued drop in violent crime has coincided with an increase in gun sales. The post’s title: Gun Crime Continues to Decrease, Despite Increase in Gun Sales. Despite. Everyone knows that more guns on the street mean more shootings and murders. It has to work that way, doesn’t it? And that’s what makes this obvious paradox newsworthy…

Except that there is a significant number of people who see no paradox here at all. John R. Lott, Jr. being one notable example. But what’s really going on here? It’s a symptom of one of two things: either the writer’s limited ability to look at causal relationships or his failed attempt to push an agenda despite facts staring him straight in the face. And either way, the ‘contradiction’ is almost always laughably punctuated by the use of the word ‘despite.’

There are plenty of LOL-worthy examples of this kind of despitefulness. I remember enduring a minor coffee-spit when reading the New York Times’ wonderment, Despite Drop in Crime, an Increase in Inmates. Would the Times ever even consider flipping that headline and highlighting the drop in crime as a result of more criminals being placed behind bars? The writer certainly didn’t even mention the possibility. Not when it happens under a president and justice department the Gray Lady opposes.

More recently, we were treated to this little gem by investors.com: Despite ObamaCare, Costs Continue To Soar. Gee, we were told that the government reengineering one seventh of the economy would save us money. The fact that the editorial is anti-ObamaCare makes the facepalm-inducing title even more ludicrous.

There are myriad examples that could be cited here, but the Caller’s lazy-thinking piece is particularly egregious:

At the same time that firearms murders were dropping, gun sales were surging. In 2009, FBI background checks for guns increased by 30 percent over the previous year, while firearms sales in large retail outlets increased by almost 40 percent. The number of applications for concealed carry permits jumped across the country as well.

While snagging the obligatory quotes from the NRA and the Brady Campaign, not once does the author, C.J. Ciaramella, even entertain the possibility that the increase in legally owned guns might be a contributing factor in bringing about the reduced crime rate. Enduring the painful cognitive dissonance that would have caused was evidently just too much for him to bear.