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Yet Again, MSM Repeats the ’90 Percent Lie’

This time, it's Hearst reporter Dan Freedman not doing his homework before repeating widely debunked statistics. (For Tatler coverage of today's Fast and Furious hearings, click here, here, and here.)

by
Bob Owens

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July 26, 2011 - 8:55 am
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PJM readers are among the best-informed when it comes to various stories involving firearms and crime because the editors employ writers that know firearms and firearms law. Perhaps more importantly, PJM editors and writers put in the effort to find and print the objective facts of a story. This is a not a trait of the increasingly dumbed-down mainstream media, which in this case churned out little more than a quickly re-worded press release.

Yesterday, the San Francisco Chronicle printed a story by Hearst reporter Dan Freedman which uncritically regurgitated a Democratic press release from June 13 as the latest news. It included the “I told you so” arrogance one should expect from today’s under-educated class of journalist, stating:

The claim that Mexican cartels rely on huge stocks of military surplus weaponry from civil wars in Central America is the mantra of pro-gun organizations fearful that linking drug violence to U.S.-purchased weapons could lead to more gun control.

Though gun-rights advocates and at least one prominent U.S. senator ferociously stand by that politically charged theory, federal firearms data show only a tiny percentage originate south of Mexico’s border.

Indeed, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and others have cited the Mexico-bound flow of weapons from firearms dealers in border states including Texas and California in arguing for restoring the expired federal assault-weapons ban and other gun restrictions.

In response to a query from Feinstein, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives reported last month that of the 29,284 weapons recovered in Mexico and submitted for tracing in 2009 and 2010, a total of 20,504 — 70 percent — were “United States-sourced firearms.” Virtually all of the remaining weapons were not traceable because insufficient information was submitted.

PJM readers know exactly what’s happening here: it’s the “90 percent lie,” again.

All of Freedman’s “content” comes from a dishonest claim made in Senator Dianne Feinstein’s dishonest June 13 press release:

About 70 percent of the guns seized in Mexico and submitted to a U.S. gun-tracing program came from the United States, according to a report released by three U.S. senators Monday.

Of the 29,284 firearms recovered by authorities in Mexico in 2009 and 2010, 20,504 came from the United States, according to figures provided to the senators by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Most of those weapons — 15,131 — were U.S. made, while another 5,373 were of foreign manufacture but had moved through the United States into Mexico.

The ATF said the remainder of the weapons total — 8,780 arms — were of “undetermined origin due to insufficient information provided.”

Freedman is obviously parroting the Feinstein press release and is simply too incurious to investigate the liberal anti-gun senator’s claim.

Once again, here is the truth: Far more than 29,284 firearms were recovered in Mexico in 2009-10.

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