By Lee Williams
In an online story published Friday, CNN admits they used data from the debunked Gun Violence Archive to claim there have been 641 mass shootings in the United States during 2021 – an average of 1.94 mass shootings per day.Think about that – nearly two mass shootings per day.
I’m surprised the legacy media had time to cover anything else, such as COVID, Joe Biden’s daily foibles or the tanking economy, since their news crews must have been running from one mass shooting to another every single day, right?
CNN publicly stated they used the Gun Violence Archive’s flawed data:
“The Gun Violence Archive, a non-profit based in Washington, DC and which CNN relies on for its reporting of mass shootings, defines a mass shooting as an incident leaving at least four people dead or injured, excluding the shooter, and does not differentiate victims based upon the circumstances in which they were shot,” the authors admit. “They counted as many as 417 mass shootings in 2019. And this year, 641 incidents have been recorded.”
The authors actually admit relying upon the GVA for “reporting of mass shootings.” Relying upon the GVA for any news story is toxic. We debunked the Gun Violence Archive in July, in a special report titled: “The Gun Violence Archive and its Scaring of America.”
The GVA is a small nonprofit that was founded in 2013 by Michael Klein, a left-leaning philanthropist and open-government advocate, and Mark Bryant, a retired computer analyst and GVA’s current executive director.
The problem is how Bryant and his 20 staffers define mass shootings. When most people hear the term “mass shooting,” they picture a crazed gunman stalking the halls of a school or a shopping mall, coldly and randomly executing innocent young victims. What does not come to mind are rival drug crews shooting it out in Chicago or Detroit, or a madman murdering his entire family, which no sane person would consider a mass shooting. The GVA makes no such distinction. If four people are wounded, the GVA labels it a mass shooting regardless of the circumstances, and the media and anti-gun politicians lap up the GVA’s inflated stats.
According to Bryant’s all-inclusive definition, there were 417 mass shootings in 2019. The FBI says there were 30, because it uses a much narrower and more realistic definition. You decide which figure is more accurate and more honest.
CNN isn’t the only organization to be hoodwinked by the inflated GVA stats. The Biden/Harris administration has cited GVA’s data, as have a bevy of other elected officials and political candidates, at the local, state and federal level. The New York Times, National Public Radio, USA TODAY and a host of other media outlets also use GVA’s definition when reporting about mass shootings, because the bigger and scarier the number, the more clicks the story will receive.
When I interviewed Bryant in July for our special report, I asked him if he actually believed that the average news consumer even considers domestic violence or gang warfare when they hear the term mass shooting. Bryant replied, “I don’t know. I know what we want to do is provide numbers and let the journalists, advocates and ‘congress critters’ look at the data, glean details and drill down on it.”
Unfortunately, today’s legacy journalists and anti-rights politicians are too lazy to do any drilling down. They prefer to cut and paste Bryan’s off-the-charts stats.
The bottom line: Bryant and his GVA know full well they’re supplying flawed data, which the media treats as gospel. I’m guessing Bryant and his anti-gun pals are laughing about it, too.
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This story is part of the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project and is published here with their permission.