The New York Times published a piece purporting to illustrate which gun control proposals would prevent the most deaths, and their popularity with the general public. To create their graphic, the Times asked “experts” to populate the list. One problem: the Times hand-picked their “experts.” The results are entirely predictable.
Our expert survey asked dozens of social scientists, lawyers and public health officials how effective each of 29 policies would be in reducing firearm homicide deaths, regardless of their political feasibility or cost. …
The academics in our panel — many of the country’s best empirical researchers on gun policy — were far more likely than the general public to support gun control. But nearly all of the policies that experts think could work have widespread support from the general public.
Asking carefully selected “social scientists, lawyers and public health officials” to rate the effectiveness gun control proposals is like asking a diehard Patriots fan to rate their team’s chances of winning the Super Bowl– at the beginning of the season.
In fact, this survey is a perfect example of confirmation bias, “the tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of one’s existing beliefs or theories.” Truth be told, the proposals these selected “experts” suggested might be favored by the majority of the people the Times selected for their poll, but the majority of Americans don’t want to see more gun control enacted.
A recent [far more scientific] poll by CNN found that 52% of Americans oppose stricter gun control laws with only 46% in favor. Public opinion has been moving away from support for more restrictions.
Rather than producing anything of value, the New York Times has crafted an excellent piece of anti-gun propaganda. By calling a gaggle of gun control supporters “experts” and excluding anyone with any practical knowledge of firearms and personal defense from the process, they got the desired result.
Worse, The Old Gray Lady portrayed their carefully curated outcome as objective reporting. It’s the ultimate argument from authority where no actual authority is involved.
And here I thought the Times was opposed to “fake news.” Turns out they were just annoyed that other people had gotten in on their game.