Georgia congressman Paul Broun claimed after Tuesday’s State of the Union address that “There are more people killed with baseball bats and hammers than are killed with guns.” Explainer readers may remember Broun as the congressman who believes the Earth is 9,000 years old. What about his hammer and baseball bat claim?
He’s wrong again, but he’s getting warmer. According to FBI data, 8,583 people were murdered with firearms in 2011. Only 496 people were killed by blunt objects, a category that includes not just hammers and baseball bats but crowbars, rocks, paving stones, statuettes, and electric guitars. Broun was off by a factor of at least 17 this time, a significant improvement on his estimate of the age of the Earth. The blue planet is 4.54 billion years old, or more than 500,000 times older than Broun believes it to be.
FJP: …but he’s getting warmer.
In fact, that’s one of the biggest problems we’ve got in how folks report about Washington right now, because I think journalists rightly value the appearance of impartiality and objectivity. And so the default position for reporting is to say, “A plague on both their houses.” On almost every issue, it’s, “Well, Democrats and Republicans can’t agree” — as opposed to looking at why is it that they can’t agree. Who exactly is preventing us from agreeing?
Yesterday they raided radio stations; today we have explosions at journalists’ homes.
There is an open effort to terrorize the media, a vital part of our democracy.
Simos Kedikoglou, spokesperson, Greek Government, in response to an attack against five journalists by a group called Lovers of Lawlessness. The group claims the journalists are sympathetic to the austerity measures being imposed on the country due to its economic crisis. New York Times, Journalists in Greece Are Becoming Targets.
The News: On Friday, attackers detonated gas canisters at the homes of an editor, two broadcasters, a crime reporter and a former journalist who’s now spokesman for a government agency privatizing Greek assets.
“These attacks are the most visible expression of an increasingly dangerous climate for all journalists, who are being turned into the scapegoats of a crisis they are just analysing,” said Reporters Without Borders in a statement.
As the Times reports, “Activism by far-left groups appears to be on the rise after a series of attacks and threats against journalists last year by Golden Dawn, the far-right neo-facist group.”
No one was injured in the attacks.