Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics

: one of the saddest sights for an opponent of deceit is to see politically-correct bias managing to deceive someone who is not its natural or willing dupe. Jeremy Clarkson, though he jokes about his anti-U.S. bias, is not the most natural target of left-wing propaganda. Most of his programme on the gun (‘Inventions that changed the world’, shown this evening on BBC 2) was, by BBC standards, a watchable and by no means intemperate view of the topic.

Then he got onto relative statistics on gun-related killings: 1994 was the stated year. Suddenly the figures he was saying started to remind me of something. Although I have a passable memory for figures, I was not videoing the program and can only say that I think they were US: 11,127, Germany: 381, etc; the figures from Michael Moore’s notorious ‘Bowling for Columbine’.

David Hardy’s detailed analysis of Bowling has some useful discussion of how Moore may have acquired these dubious figures (and much else that was not just dubious) for the film. Jeremy Clarkson is not an obvious victim of a man like Moore. Perhaps he spends too much time with BBC colleagues who are. Perhaps he simply doesn’t realize how far the politically correct will go. After all, Columbine won an Oscar for ‘best documentary’; people could think that meant it was fact, not fiction.

I am annoyed by deliberate BBC bias. I am depressed by this very minor and probably quite innocent repetition of Moore’s bias. Meanwhile, one can but hope that Jeremy will put his anti-American bias to more productive use; Moore is one after all.

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8 Responses to Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics

  1. DumbJon says:

    Apart from anything else, the antennae should go up when someone quotes figures from ten years ago. Plus, I got quite teed off at JC assigning blaming violence on guns. Yes, it’s a cliche to say it’s not the gun, but human evil will find a way, with whatever tools are available [see Rwanda for further details].


  2. PJF says:

    Clarkson is a lightweight media-darling with a well marketed affectation of ‘Sunday lunchtime pub geezer common sense’ (that too many people fall for). His chronologically inept summary of how newly armed cowboys united the states and created a superpower was utterly laughable, and representative of the abysmal standard of misinformation in that trashy piece.

    This wasn’t an example of BBC bias, it was an example of how morally repugnant it is for the state to force people to pay for what an unaccountable elite condescends to provide for them.


  3. Mr Free Market says:

    The programme was crap, but the guns were great…..more please !


  4. Clankylad says:

    I enjoyed the programme and am looking forward to the rest of the series.

    I thought it took a holistic view of the development of the gun (i.e. other technologies which sprung from its’ development) and wasn’t anti-gun at all.

    I really don’t know what everyone is so bothered about.


  5. ken says:

    My British friends (even the Tory ones) routinely refer to “facts” presented in Bowling for Columbine. They know of no other version of the truth about this so-called documentary. Why is that?

    Uhhh, could it be that the BBC only provides one side of a story (the one they are advocating)?


  6. Joe says:

    Niall, “…one can but hope that Jeremy will put his anti-American bias to more productive use; Moore is one after all.”

    Are you suggesting he shoot him 😉


  7. james murray says:

    Why do I hear the sound of people clutching at straws?……yes,Moore is a clown and his ‘art’ shpuld be regarded in the same vein as Comical Ali or Goebbels,but what is your point?……America IS the most violent society in the west,and does have a horrendous gun death rate.And whether Mike or Jeremy got it wrong by a few hundred is missing the point…


  8. james murray says:

    the 1998 gun death figures for America: