False ‘Facts’ in the Public Sphere

A Good Lie Is Hard to Kill

 

Wendy McElroy over at Reason.composted a piece on domestic violence statistics. A statistic that has been parroted by the Department of Justice, and even cited by Attorney General Eric Holder in a 2009 speech claimed that “the leading cause of death in the United States among African American women aged 15 to 45 years” was homicide.
The American Journal of Public Health(vol. 93, No. 7, page 1089) called the homicides in this stat “femicide, the homicide of women.” The National Institute ofJustice (NIJ) Journal (2003, page 18) called the deaths “intimate partner violence.”
Now Jacquelyn C. Campbell is accused of making up vital statements about domestic violence and then presenting them as “findings” of a government survey. From McElroy’s piece at Reason.com:
“On January 14, [2014] the victim-advocacy organization Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE) filed a formal complaint with the Office of Research Integrity of the Department of Health and Human Services. SAVE wants the unit to “investigate these allegations of research misconduct by Dr. Campbell and colleagues, and take appropriate corrective action.” (As of January 31, the complaint has been rejected and the rejection is being appealed.)”
Later in the article McElroy reviewed CDC data from 2003 showing that cancer, heart disease, unintentional injury, and HIV/AIDS were all larger reasons for death in African American women of that age group. This data was available years before Eric Holder cited the false statistic in a 2009 speech. The DOJ was confronted with this information after the Washington Post ran an expose on this fact-checking mission. However, “The outrageous inaccuracy remains in the text of material on DOJ site, as it has for over four years.”
Just because a statistic has been proven as a fabrication, doesn’t make it disappear from the public sphere. See where this is going?

What Does This Have to do with Sex Offenders and this Blog?

Everything. One look at the Nebraska Legislature’s laws on registering sex offenders gives us up-to-date proof that debunked data (read: lies) doesn’t just go away.
The Legislature finds that sex offenders present a high risk to commit repeat offenses.” –Nebraska Revised Statute 29-4002.
Research commissioned by the legislature’s Judiciary Committee itselfwas published nationwide in 2013 showed that Nebraska’s former sexual offenders re-offend at less than a 1% rate every year. They know this, but the statement above is still codified into state law.
Just last night on KETV news at 10, a story was done on the fugitive task force in Omaha that is tasked with apprehending sex offenders listed as “absconded” on the sex offender registry website. Eddie posted a full critique on this fluff piece here.
Up to last year, government websites repeated the statistic that sex offenders have a re-offense rate 50 times higher than what studies have found for at least the last decade. Just because good information exists, doesn’t mean people want to report it. Or read it, for that matter.

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