Politifact, a biased liberal operation that purports to fact-check political claims, recently examined Donald Trump’s statement that “crime is rising.” It found the claim to be false, rating it “pants on fire,” the worst rating these liberals dole out.
But Trump, in this instance, is correct. Crime is rising.
How did Politifact err on such a basic question? It erred by looking at no data past 2014. Sean Kennedy at AEI Ideas blows the whistle.
Trump made his statement on June 7, 2016. Thus, his claim that crime is rising can only be fact-checked by analyzing current data. By failing to do so, Politifact confirmed that it is either incompetent, hopelessly biased, or both.
Kennedy did what Politifact was obligated to do before proclaiming Trump a liar. He looked at data that would illuminate whether crime is increasing.
Specifically, Kennedy examined local agency data for 2016 and compared it to 2014 and 2015 data. He found that violent crime in most major US cities, especially homicide, is up substantially since 2014.
Kennedy also cites a March 2016 Gallup poll finding that 53 percent of Americans “personally worry about crime and violence…a great deal.” That’s up 14 percent since the question was last asked in 2014. This dramatic increase in concern surely reflects a change in the facts on the ground — i.e., increased crime and violence.
But Politifact’s bias and/or incompetence wasn’t limited to its failure to dig up 2016 data. Kennedy notes that the source Politifact did use — the FBI, per its Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) database — provided preliminary figures for 2015.
The preliminary 2015 numbers show crime rising in most categories across the country between 2014 and 2015. Violent crime (i.e. murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault) is up. The murder rate rose 6.2 percent; rape rose 9.6 percent.
This information was readily available as of January 2016, well before Politifact wrote its June hit piece on Trump.
Why didn’t Politifact use the preliminary 2015 data? The information was, of course, “preliminary.” But it still represented the FBI’s best estimate as to whether crime was increasing as of the beginning of 2016.
This data was sufficient to show that, at a minimum, Trump’s claim that “crime is rising” is plausible. I would say it shows he is probably right (and the 2016 numbers show he is right). Yet Politifact gave Trump’s statement the lowest possible rating for veracity.
These days, the mainstream media barely pretends to be other than anti-conservative and anti-Trump. But even by the MSM’s revoltingly low standards, Politifact’s analysis of Trump’s statement on crime is a disgrace.
UPDATE: Bill Otis has more on Polifact’s farcical fact-check.