CNN’s Jim Acosta is being accused of spreading fake news – again – after claiming that America has suffered over 1,500 mass shootings since the tragedy at Sandy Hook.
Acosta tweeted out a graphic of the United States peppered with red dots, signifying the location of mass shootings in the United States. He included some startling statistics: there have been 1,552 mass shootings since Sandy Hook, resulting in the deaths of 1,767 people and the wounding of another 6,227.
If those numbers seem a bit far fetched, you’re not alone.
The tweet is based on an article form Vox, which should be your first indication that something is amiss. Vox fancies itself as a media source that presents the facts clearly and with full explanation and context. However, Vox has been accused of manipulating and cherry-picking the facts to suit a liberal agenda, just like most other mainstream media outlets.
That appears to be the case here, as the article cites data from the Gun Violence Archive, a liberal activist group that supports stricter gun laws. They define mass shootings in which four or more people are injured and not killed, and also include shootings involving gangs, drug dealings, and domestic disputes. Most Americans, including law enforcement, do not adhere to such a restrictive definition.
Here is Acosta’s tweet with the dubious “facts.”
Since Sandy Hook there have been at least 1,552 mass shootings, with at least 1,767 people killed and 6,227 wounded. https://t.co/RZeFDHhYmR
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) December 14, 2017
If you are seeing a lot of red dots near your city or town, and wonder why you haven’t heard of so many mass shootings in your area, you aren’t alone.
On December 14, 2017, CNN’s Jim Acosta claimed America has witnessed “1,552 mass shootings” since the heinous attack on Sandy Hook Elementary School.
This means Acosta is claiming an average of approximately 310 mass shootings a year for each of the past five years.
It is important to note that he attempts to bolster this claim via information provided by a tracking site sponsored by gun controllers. That tracking site–the Gun Violence Archive–diverges from FBI definition of a mass shooting as four fatalities or more in one incident so as to include shootings in which no fatalities occur.
Other members of the left have been spewing similar numbers for years. At times, their claims have gotten so outlandish that members of their own circles have called them out for it.
For example, in December 2015 Breitbart News reported that Mother Jones’ editor Mark Follman called out leftists for claiming “355 mass shootings” in that calendar year alone.
Note–using the actual FBI definition of mass shootings, Follman could only find four mass shootings for the entire year, yet leftists were claiming 355.
In the same way, it is easy to swell the number of mass shootings if the definition of mass shooting is changed so as to include street crimes in which no one is killed or by including the life of the attacker in the reported number of deaths resulting from an alleged shooting. The Gun Violence Archive does both these things and Acosta’s tweet ultimately rests on that approach to claim “1552 mass shootings” during the past five years.
It should be the job of journalists like Jim Acosta to present unbiased facts in context. As we know well, Acosta himself has never been troubled to do just that.