Saturday, January 19, 2008

Crisis: Bringing the Newsroom Home

On January 13, 2008, the New York Times reported on 121 cases of veterans returning to civilian life but "bringing the battlefield home": committing or being charged for murder. When the Weekly Standard employed the requisite context that the New York Times did not, the results indicated that "the actual homicide rate among civilians is higher in similar demographic groups":

The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and other veterans’ advocacy groups are absolutely correct that not merely “many” but the vast majority of veterans not only remain completely law-abiding but go on to lead stable and productive personal, professional, and civic lives. Assuming 121 homicide cases in relation to 749,932 total discharges through 2007, 99.98 percent of all discharged Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have not committed or been charged with homicide.

And assuming 121 cases and 749,932 total discharges, the homicide offending rate for the discharged veterans would be 16.1 per 100,000. The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) has demographic data aplenty on homicide offending rates. For instance, in 2005, for white males aged 18-24, the rate was about 20 per 100,000. The Times opined that 121 was the “minimum” number, even as it counted veterans charged but not convicted with veterans tried and found guilty. Doubling the number to 242 would double the rate to 32.2 per 100,000.

Far more worrisome is the trend of Journalists Gone Wild, an article apparently as thoroughly researched as that of the New York Times: to wit, America's media misanthropes are bringing home the stress of speaking questionable truth to power from the safety of the newsroom, where they become corrupted, robbing banks, beating wives, molesting children, stealing property, and taking lives—committing hundreds of crimes. It is a crisis!

Of course, why worry about any of that when Dutch e-tailers' product displays run amok (let video content load). If not contained in time, such threats to global e-businesses will become more than a crisis, they'll become super-duper crises!