Efrem Zimbalist Jr. Would Not Approve

Ann Althouse headlines a recent Trump quote: "The FBI crime statistics Biden is pushing are fake. They’re fake just like everything else in this administration.".

Okay, it's not news that Trump is making wild charges.

But it is news that he might have a point. Ann quotes a recent Washington Examiner article:

The fourth quarter 2023 crime report from the FBI, the federal government’s keeper of crime data, is unreliable at best and deceptive at worst.

The FBI’s preliminary 2023 data show murder declined by 13.2% across the country and violent crime dropped 5.7% compared to 2022 levels. Various news headlines have reported the FBI’s numbers unquestioningly, claiming murder is “plummeting” and violent crime “declined significantly” to pre-pandemic levels.

But these latest figures warrant skepticism, as we outline in a new report. In fact, violent crime is up substantially from 2019 levels, and last year’s apparent drop is less significant than it appears.

Ann also makes an interesting observation about the Guardian article whence she got the Trump quote:

“The FBI crime statistics Biden is pushing are fake,” he said without evidence. “They’re fake just like everything else in this administration.”


When I first read that, I thought The Guardian was asserting, based on its own investigation, that Trump's statement is unsupported by evidence, but it's ambiguous, and it's deceptive in its ambiguity. It could just mean that Trump made his statement without going into any detail about why the FBI crime statistics are fake. I only noticed that ambiguity after I went looking for the information myself. I wonder if The Guardian also looked, also found the explanation, and decided to write "without evidence," leaving a loophole to deny that it meant to assert that there was no evidence.

So you might not be able to trust the FBI's crime stats, and you definitely can't trust stories from journalists who want to slag Trump.

Also of note:

  • As July follows June… Martin Gurri makes a more general point: Truth Follows Function.

    We are supposed to live in a post-truth world—I have said so myself, and more than once. What does that mean? Basically, that trust in our interpreters of truth—the elites, the mediating class, whatever one chooses to call them—has evaporated. We haven’t believed our presidents for at least a generation. We haven’t believed the news media and other organs of information since the advent of the web. At some point during the COVID-19 pandemic, we stopped believing our institutions of science.

    Truth isn’t the sum of many facts: It works the other way around. We erect frameworks of understanding, which the facts must fit into or modify. A healthy society will debate the relationship between a given fact and its role in our understanding of the world. The catastrophic failure of the mediators means that we now debate the frameworks and their meanings among ourselves. In this rolling chaos, interpretations have turned tendentious and partial. Reality has splintered into a million pieces. That’s the post-truth condition.

    I don't like to make predictions, but I predict t-shirts emblazoned with "In Fauci We Trust" will be marked way, way, down soon.

  • I wouldn't have expected this to be a mystery at all, let alone an enduring one. Elise Cutts writes at Quanta on The Enduring Mystery of How Water Freezes. See if this subhed doesn't grab you:

    Making ice requires more than subzero temperatures. The unpredictable process takes microscopic scaffolding, random jiggling and often a little bit of bacteria.

    Bacteria?! Eeewww!

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