CBS News lies with Statistics to Overplay “Surge” in Asian Hate Crime

  • “150% increase” in anti-Asian incidents not as devastating as it seems when actual numbers are used: 73
  • Liberal media overplays study to ‘prove’ systemic racism
  • Study fact sheet cited by the writer demonstrates the liberal media’s bias in reporting opinions as fact

OUR RATING = Major Negligence. MSNBC-level basic journalistic negligence

Indicted Outlet: Paulina Smolinski | CBS News | Link | Archive

Circulating on liberal new sites has been a new study, to be published later this month, from the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism that “found a nearly 150% surge in anti-Asian hate crimes in 2020, while overall hate crimes fell by 7%. The numbers reflect a growing trend of discrimination against Asian Americans during the coronavirus pandemic.” This news article, and others like it, uses one study fact sheet to raise the spectre of racism in America. In reality, Smolinski omits crucial context and uses hyperbole to prove her own bias. 

Major Violations:

  • Missing Context
  • Opinion as Fact
  • Superficial Investigation

There are two issues with this article. The first problem is the 150% increase clearly lacks context that would decrease concerns about anti-Asian racism in the U.S. According to the study fact sheet, the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism analyzed official preliminary police data and determined that the number of anti-Asian American incidents rose from 49 in 2019 to 122 in 2020. [1] The group used each individual city’s definition which generally correspond to FBI definitions, but can be more expansive. For the police data they used local definitions, but for the most targeted types, there tended to be uniformity, according to the Center. 

Putting aside the fact that there is some variation in hate crime definition, this only meant that there was an increase of only 73 incidents reported since 2019. To extrapolate a broad trend of anti-Asian American racism in the U.S. on the basis of 73 more incidents since 2019 is both illogical and fallacious. Going from 49 to 122 incidents has a different meaning than going from 500 to 750. But this kind of hyperbole, words like “surge” and “spike,” is necessary to bolster the narrative. 

Smolinski does not give us context or further investigation into the study. If she did, we might find that the 150% increase is not as devastating as it seems to be. Dennis Prager, who wrote an article about this particular fact sheet, gave us some perspective on this shockingly large percentage increase in Anti-Asian racism:

“Given that there are about 330 million Americans, and assuming a different American was responsible for each of the [total] 122 anti-Asian incidents, that would mean that 1 in every 2,704,918 Americans committed an anti-Asian incident.” [2]

To add more context, there are about 20 million Asian Americans in the United States. That means of the 122 anti-Asian incidents, 1 out of 163,934 Asian-Americans have experienced racism, assuming a different Asian-American reported each incident.[3] When explained in the context of the whole U.S. population, a 150% increase doesn’t carry the same weight CBS and other liberal outlets give it when they provide necessary context. 

The second problem is that the CBS news article only features sources from one side of the argument, thereby giving an unbalanced and false picture of the problem. Smolinski’s sources include a comparative race scholar and professor at Princeton University, the professor who co-authored the study, a New Jersey Democrat, and the co-founder of AAPI Hate. All of these sources, even if you were to make a cursory examination from their titles, have a clear bias and predisposition to believe studies like these. 

It has become a chronic problem in mainstream journalism that these kind of stories are purposefully reporting politicized out-of-context statistics skewed in such a way as to only tell one side of the story and advance a left-wing agenda.

Smolinski cites to Stop AAPI Hate, who reports that they have received 2,800 self-reported incidents targeting Asian Americans.[4] Previously debunked in another Pundit fact check, this database is based on self-reported incidents, thus there is no way to verify them, and two it includes mostly verbal offenses, which do not fall under the traditional definition of a hate crime as “murder, arson, or vandalism with an added element of bias.”[5]  

This is a sly and calculated technique to add legitimacy to Smolinski’s article. The first study she cites is more honest since it is based on police data. But unfortunately, that study doesn’t mean much in the context of the whole U.S. population. So, Smolinski includes another database that is less easily verified but reports larger numbers of discrimination in order to arrive at the outcome she desires. One without the other doesn’t carry that much weight, but the two combined persuade the reader to believe the claim. 

This is fundamentally dishonest.

We tried contacting Ms. Smolinski but three different emails listed on her stories and biographies all failed to deliver. We will add her response or comments to this story if she responds.

Ultimately, Smolinski either fails to investigate the source of her story or she does not care about objectivity, but instead promotes an opinion popular on the left but unsupported by the facts: white Americans are irredeemably racist toward yet another minority. 

OUR RATING = Major Negligence. MSNBC-level basic journalistic negligence







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