Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Joey Bunch Misstates Gun Statistics in Denver Post

Please visit this article's new home at AriArmstrong.com. Thank you!

41 comments:

  1. Nice work ARI... they neither expect, nor want, you to go 'JACK WEB - DRAGNET' on them!

    ReplyDelete
  2. By the way, Dan, it's not "Jack Web"; it's "Jack Webb" (star of the series). ;)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you for shedding some light on the truth!

    ReplyDelete
  4. "By the way, Dan, it's not "Jack Web"; it's "Jack Webb" (star of the series). ;)"

    Thanx for the correction Ari...

    ReplyDelete
  5. Go Ari, thanks for the vigilance!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Joey Bunch, journalist.

    Graduate:Dan Rather School of Journalism

    Motto: Fake,but accurate.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks for your dogged determination to get to the bottom of this and get to the truth of the matter. Best regards, --Cuneiandro

    ReplyDelete
  8. Well done. I wish every journalist were as professional as you appear to be.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I had the same sort of reaction when I've challenged a couple of the LA Times "journalists" over the years (Steve Lopez, I'm looking at you). I thought it was just West Coast elitist huff-puffery, but it appears that it's a refuge of scoundrels backed into an untenable corner. I think you need to take Bunch up on his offer of donuts.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I just sent an e-mail to Dale asking him to investigate Bunch's apparent plagiarism, misattribution of sources, and unprofessional conduct.

    Maybe others should follow suit?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Welcome, Instapundit readers - http://pjmedia.com/instapundit/134359/

    I do want to emphasize that, while the Denver Post has sometimes failed to offer quality reporting, usually it does a good job. Sometimes it offers great reporting. In this case, the Post published an inaccurate report, but, to the paper's credit, it also quickly issued a correction. It is the role of readers and "citizen journalists" to keep the papers in their area on track. In all things, context matters!

    Also, I wrote a follow-up article about the larger picture: http://bit.ly/ryn8js

    Thanks, -Ari

    ReplyDelete
  12. It seems obvious that online articles that fail to "link" to sources for their facts (including images of supposedly supportive documents) are probably creating transparency problems to spin the story to the author's conceits (maybe even to allow the author to make it up).

    ReplyDelete
  13. Let's be careful throwing around the "p" word. Remember, I'm still not entirely sure how Bunch came up with his original claim.

    Also, I've bounced a couple of comments due to gratuitous cursing. Please keep it civil!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Anonymous 10:28 raises an interesting point. Many news reporters continue to write for print, yet their articles also appear online.

    I myself have faced the problem of including a truncated citation in print. My solution in such cases is simply to record the relevant links so that I can make them available to anyone who asks. Whenever feasible I try to get the host publication to publish the links online. And I try to include more complete citations when I repost or discuss my articles on my own web page.

    At a minimum, a writer should be willing to make a verifiable citation available to any reader who asks for it.

    When we're talking about large newspapers, it is the job of editors to verify claims, preferably prior to publication!

    For you bloggers out there, it's your job to double-check your own claims. If you're not hypersensitive to the possibility of making errors, you will certainly make them. -Ari

    ReplyDelete
  15. Ari, I want to pre-confess right here and right now that I ate that last cookie. Please have mercy!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Punch Back -- Twice As Hard!

    Mr. Bunch should be summarily fired, but I won't hold my breath.

    ReplyDelete
  17. "When we're talking about large newspapers, it is the job of editors to verify claims, preferably prior to publication!"

    ...unless it doesn't fit the Liberal journ-O-list meme.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I would think 1.7M children line in homes with a gun in Texas alone. All of these numbers seem designed to make gun ownership seem dangerous.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I note the all-too-common arrogance displayed by Mr. Bunch in the email exchange, highlighted as it was by the obvious contempt in which he held anyone who would deign to question his work. This is the usual, and tiresome, attitude of those with a strong sense of "status entitlement". That is, they are used to being held in high regard, if only by themselves, and grow accustomed to having their every word accepted without dispute as holy writ. Their sense of outraged shock and grievance at being questioned can be encapsulated in the time-honored response of "Ha-rumph!". Just like Bunch.

    But that response, in addition to being intended as a declaration of offended dignity, also serves as a defense mechanism meant to dissuade the questioner from further curiosity. Here it is plainly apparent that Bunch knew he was caught from the outset, and he chose the very risky tactic of doubling down on the ridicule as the exchange of emails continued. And, as usual, it backfired.

    I am not so surprised that he lied and fudged figures in trying to win an ideological point in his article: it's who the left is and what they do. But I'm speechless that Bunch hasn't the scintalla of integrity it would take to finally admit he had been caught...at least that he was wrong. That fact alone tells me more about Bunch as a man than anything else in his sorry behavior in this entire episode. It tells me it is far more important for him to appear correct, and to never admit error, much less an intent to deceive, than it is to be a man of truth, honor and trust.

    What a tiny, small, petty man it takes to do that. And what a complete waste of testicles.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I realize newspapers are financially strapped, but using high-school interns as reporters is unconscionable.

    Interns are there to learn and to be mentored, not to defray costs. So, to the Denver Post; shame on you. And to Joey Bunch; stay in school!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Now, if you really want some fun, look up:

    1) The number of households with swimming pools.

    2) The number of kids drowned in residential swimming pools.

    I did this about ten years ago, and came up with kids being about 87 times more likely to die in a nice swimming pool than from a nasty gun. I'll bet someone smarter than I can get a more accurate figure, but I'll bet it'll be as impressive.

    ReplyDelete
  22. His email responses sound like that of a fourteen year old. The anti-gunners have been distorting and making up statistics forever. Another example of a person so blinded by rhetoric they will do and say anything.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Well done Sir. And I'm actually surprised and impressed that the paper's editor made the corrections.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Thanks for the well researched post. Let me add a small point.

    Most researchers consider the 16th birthday as the dividing line between "childhood" and "young adulthood." While the age is perhaps debatable in a society that seems to want to stretch childhood into the 60's, I generally use that age, just to keep down confusion.

    Those who wish to make the statistics as appalling as possible choose later transition dates. As in one notorious comment that "children under 65!"

    Stranger

    ReplyDelete
  25. Great job Ari!
    And, Kevin Dale at the Post is deserving of credit for stepping up and responding appropriately.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I've seen before the tactic of using two statistics and giving a citation for the second one in the hopes that the less that alert reader will assume the citation also applies to the first stat. Nice job Ari.

    ReplyDelete
  27. The fact that the Post immediately issued a correction, while the so-called journalist issued evasion after evasion, says a great deal about each of them. Ultimately, Ari, you have done the Post a true service by showing them part of their rodent infestation.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Dear JournoLists,

    This is why you are hated.

    ReplyDelete
  29. As a former resident/gun owner in Texas and Louisiana and new resident to Denver, I can tell you that gun politics in Denver are far more polarized than most places. I'm mid 30's, clean cut, highly educated and successful, and I've been on dates where the tone of conversation completely changed completely when I mentioned going shooting that weekend with friends up in the mountains. More so than anywhere else I've lived, the trucks in the mountains have gun racks and the Boulder/Denver city types either openly wonder why you need them or actively wants to take them away from you.

    Independent of that, what surprises me more in this exchange is the reporter's unwillingness to provide links to sources and the relevant quotes. It's one thing to dismiss a random e-mail from the internet as someone being critical of your article, but after identifying you as a peer/colleague he still treated you like a troll. Such a hostile response only fuels the impression that the error on his part was ideological, rather than a simple sourcing mistake.

    ReplyDelete
  30. First time I have come across this blog, from complete Colorado. Keep it up, very professional, and it exposes the thoughts and behavior of the media today. Everyone needs to see stuff like this. Agendas have no place in news reporting. Opinions that are factual are one thing, made up nonsense should not be tolerated and should be exposed. Again, great job. Going to bookmark this blog.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Gang, Please make your points without gratuitous name-calling. While I have not personally heard from Bunch again, I don't know how the scene in the newsroom went down or how re responded in that context.

    I do think it would be wise for the Post to establish guidelines for interacting with readers. In general, reporters should interact in a friendly and honest way. In some cases, the right move might be to run a complaint by an editor first. Obviously Bunch's approach reflected poorly on the paper.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I have no way of knowing whether Bunch's error was ideologically driven, as some have suggested. My guess is that he merely rushed and cut corners. The outcome (if my guess is correct) is that he perpetuated biased anti-gun statistics without even knowing that they were wrong. But that reveals a much larger problem. When reporters are not careful with their facts, they can easily fall for biased factoids distributed by partisan groups. Let me emphasize, though, that it is possible to be both partisan (or ideological) and careful with the facts, as with good op-eds. -Ari

    ReplyDelete
  33. I love the internet, I really, really do.

    ReplyDelete
  34. What is sad is that Mr. Bunch's behavior is a perfect example of why print journalism is a dying industry. It's not just that he blindly accepted a "source" he found on the internet, solely because it already fit his worldview. What's especially pathetic is the arrogance he displayed when called out on it.

    It's one thing to be lazy here and there. We're all guilty of that at some time or another. But it's another to act like an arrogant douche when you're caught at it.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Well, let's remember that, in the end, Bunch expressed regret for the way he handled the issue. Let's also remember that print journalists hardly have a monopoly on acting like jerks!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Ari makes a good point about recognizing that the editors responded in good faith to his emails notifying them of the error (as well as the unprofessional attitude of Master Bunch). They did indeed respond correctly in acting quickly to correct the juju figures their reporter provided in his article.

    Many once-eminent newspapers would simply have ignored the emails, responded that there was no error, or manufactured some pretense of having fixed the problem without actually making any substantive changes. After all, that's how the NYT, SFChron, BoGlo, LAT and, all too often, WaPo do it. (Hmmm, is there a common thread here?)

    So,"Bravo", DenPo.

    ReplyDelete
  37. After his petulant exchange with you, I'm imagining that stunned, rush-of-heat-to-the-face-and-ears when Mr. Bunch got that call from Kevin Dale - "Joey, I need to see you in my office..."

    ReplyDelete

Comments are moderated.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.