Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
Tuesday’s Bulletin included an article titled “FBI: Hate Crimes Against Muslims Up By 67 Percent In 2015.” The article stated “Reported hate crimes against Muslims rose in 2015 to their highest number since the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks--.” Then it immediately proceeded to state the overall number of hate crimes against all groups increased from 5479 to 5850.
What the article failed to report was the actual number of hate crimes against Muslims, only the substantial percentage increase. By failing to report the actual number of hate crimes against Muslims, no doubt many readers may have mistakenly concluded that number was 5850.
The actual number of hate crimes against Muslims was 257, up from 154, for the reported 67% increase. That’s 257 total hate crimes against Muslims in a nation of well over 300 million population, a rate of .000086%, hardly an alarming number.
In reporting news and statistics, context is extremely important so as not to mislead the readers. In this case, the absence of critical known data in the article, whether intentional or not, certainly could lead the reader to an incorrect conclusion.