MATTHEWS: Mainstream media rides to Democrats’ rescue over crime concerns

Police cars block the entrance to Crabtree Valley Mall in Raleigh, N.C., Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016. Raleigh's police chief says investigators are still trying to determine whether there was a shooting at a Raleigh mall where witnesses reported hearing gunfire. (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed)

Crime has consistently been a top issue for voters over the last couple of years, with many polls showing it ranking in the top five. 

For instance, an April 2022 Gallup poll indicated “worry about crime in [the] U.S. at [the] highest level since 2016.” A more recent one from Rasmussen Reports noted “83% of voters see crime as [an] important issue as [the] election nears.” 

State-level polls also show crime as a major issue, especially in places such as New York where a violent crime surge has been ongoing since controversial bail reforms pushed by Democrat state legislators and signed into law by then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) went into effect in January 2020. 

But according to some in the mainstream media, crime is largely a nonissue that is being turned into one by Fox News. 

Washington Post national columnist Philip Bump, who up until recently was listed as a nonpartisan “correspondent” for the newspaper, wrote a piece last week titled “Crime is surging (in Fox News coverage).” 

In it, he took issue with the emphasis Fox News put on violent crime as we draw closer to the 2022 midterm elections, where Democrats are not polling well, especially on crime-related matters. 

“Fox News contributor Gianno Caldwell caught up with Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) outside an elevator in the Capitol,” Bump wrote. “His focus was simple: ‘We just want to talk about the crime crisis in America.’ Nadler, who’d suggested that Caldwell contact his office, didn’t reply.” 

Actually, I watched the video, and at no point did Nadler “suggest that Caldwell contact his office.” Caldwell was the one who repeatedly requested comment and/or a sit-down interview. 

Nadler, the House Judiciary chairman, was evasive and cagey as he frantically searched for an elevator door that would open, telling Caldwell — whose younger brother Christian was killed in a Chicago drive-by shooting incident in June — at one point that he was “in a rush” and at another point stating he was “pretty busy” when Caldwell asked for a meeting at a later time. 

In the very next paragraph of Bump’s column, he debunked himself. 

“Perhaps Nadler was stymied by the framing,” Bump continued. “Which ‘crime crisis’ is that, exactly? In Nadler’s hometown of New York City, murder and shooting incidents are down relative to last year, though violent crime in general is up. Last year, the city saw lower crime across the board than two or three decades ago, though, again, it’s now up relative to 2020.” 

So “violent crime, in general, is up” and crime “across the board … is now up relative to 2020,” but there is no “crime crisis,” according to Bump? 

Bump spent the rest of his piece trying to back up his point by referencing FBI crime stats and Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), which give a rough overall picture though, as even he noted, there are inconsistencies in how they are reported which means they cannot always be relied upon for broad analyses of crime trends. 

“The national measure compiled by the FBI has seen declining participation (thanks in part to a change in what it collects) even as it operates at a substantial delay,” Bump reported. 

Why would one reference official crime stats that even they admit are not reliable in an effort to debunk the narrative supposedly being spun by Fox News about crime? 

There’s only one explanation: The crime issue hurts Democrats big time, and as a result, Bump — like a smattering of others in the MSM — is hoping to convince people it’s really not that big a deal while also hoping readers won’t notice that he repeatedly undercut his own arguments. 

Do not be fooled. Crime is indeed up, especially in Democrat-led cities, and voters have every right to want to make fighting it a priority. 

North Carolina native Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a media analyst and regular contributor to RedState and Legal Insurrection.