Fact Checker Proves School Shooting Statistic Wrong
At first pundits and the media reported that the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, was among almost 20 so far this year, then came the rest of the story.
In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, which claimed 17 and shocked the nation, Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown group tweeted, “This is the 18th school shooting in the U.S. in 2018,” a figure that was parroted and elaborated upon by news outlets both in the U.S. and overseas, and spoken on the floor of the Senate by U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy.
However, as pointed out by fact checkers from Politico, who graded the claim as “mostly false” there are “some major caveats to that figure.”
The figure included two suicides — one at a building that hadn’t been used as a school in months — as well as nine instances that involved no deaths or injuries, and three that were unintentional. In one unusual incident, a curious third-grader managed to work his finger into the holster of a school resource officer and pull the trigger of his duty weapon.
David Mastio, deputy editorial page editor of USA Today, as well as a team of writers for the Washington Post, came to similar conclusions, calling the 18 shootings figure “flat wrong.”
Since then, there have been some corrections. Network TV journalist and author Jeff Greenfield deleted a tweet concerning the inflated figure while USA Today updated their original coverage. The Huffington Post downgraded their count to 17, deleting the suicide at a former school incident, and added a caveat to the methodology used by Everytown and others to produce the figure.