I am an investigative journalist who writes books about what I investigate. I also spill the beans here on this blog. The first rule (according to me) is ascertain the facts. Not opinion, just raw data. When the Governor of Arizona was talking about all the crime in the border towns, and the decapitated bodies, people talked about it as if it were true -- it wasn't true at all, and the truth was easily available. All it would take is a most a telephone call to Arizona law enforcement and ask, "is this true?" or go to the Department of Justice or FBI web sites and look at the hard data crime statistics. The border towns in Arizona have lower crime rates than five cities in Ohio and are among the safest towns in America, but you wouldn't know it if you didn't LOOK IT UP. Of course it turned out that the Arizona politician had financial interest in private prisons...but that's another story.
How about gang violence and the need for more cops to protect us from them damn gangs? Las Vegas had some real anti-gang panic attacks in the 1980's. The cops insisted the needed more manpower to fight this dreaded invasion of latino gangs! It was a hot topic in Las Vegas and the cops told the press that there was a 400% increase in gang activity -- through this campaign of "concern" and "fear" of this "evil" enemy, a study revealed that in 1989 almost 90% of Las Vegas residents believed that Las Vegas had a serious gang problem. The gang tast force went from two to sixteen members. The Governor put forth anti-gang legislation and law enforcement was praised for erradicating the gang problem.
The truth? There never was a significant minority gang problem in Las Vegas. LOOK IT UP. The violent crimes linked to gangs stayed a consistently low 3% before during and after the gang "crises," and drug crimes linked to gangs also stayed low and consistent at 4%. No big increase, no big decrease. Panic over bullshit with the media again complicit in misleading the public.
Here is another very short and simple example: most people believe crime is on the increase, and has been increasing over the years. The truth, however, is that crime in America has been on a 35 year decline.
One more: people believe most acts of violent terrorism on American soil are by so-called Islamic Terrorists. The truth? Those nut cases commit about 6% of terrorist acts. The Jewish Defense League gets 'credit" for 7%. Most violent acts are committed by ecoterrorists, hate groups such as Christian Identiy Movement, and the largest amount--- Puerto Rican separatists. LOOK IT UP.