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.

7 Responses to Great Moments in Headline Writing: The Daily Caller

  1. avatarTodd says:

    I think you’ve seriously misread the article and the author’s intentions. While written in a appropriately neutral tone, the article is clearly calling attention to the fact that more guns do not equal more crime; they equal less.

    Are you at all familiar with the Daily Caller? Did you expect an anti-gun piece there?

    • I’m quite familiar with it. And nowhere in the piece did he entertain the possibility that more legally purchased guns might have had a positive effect on gun crimes.

      • avatarTodd says:

        I think that it was left to the reader to make that (obvious) connection. The article doesn’t have to bludgeon you over the head with the point in order to make the point.

  2. avatarBen Eli says:

    I read the article and it seems fairly non-partisan. The title points out a truth, a truth that has been phrased to grab eyes. The title will startle a reader who does not follow these sort of arguments on a regular basis. End of the day, this article was not written for us as the audience. If you hadn’t posted about it, I would have seen the title said “Duh” and gone back to solitaire. If the author really wanted to make a point or wave a flag, he would have written more than ~300 words.

  3. avatarRalph says:

    The key sentence in the whole article was this: Assigning causes to increases or decreases in the national crime rate is a notorious fool’s errand because of the amount of variables at play, but what the numbers don’t suggest is any clear correlation between gun crime, gun ownership and gun-control laws.

    Accepting the premise as true, will someone explain yet again why we need gun control?

  4. avatarAjax says:

    Correlation does not imply causation….it appears DC was unwilling to do so either.

    If anything, the article did a great job in exposing another Brady myth, that gun-strict cesspools are just victims of the lax laws of surrounding states. Oh, poor Chicago is close to the Wild West of Indiana and DC is plagued by the gun-crazy Virginians.

  5. Yeah, I’ve dropped the DC Caller from my read list. They started out conservative or at least closer to it but now with the exception of a few columnists (Jim Treacher for one), they’re turning into a RINO. Oh and the editing on the site is sub-par, not up to journalistic standards. And that’s saying something.

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