A study by Australian and British researchers published in a frequently debunked European "science" journal claims owning a gun makes Americans racist.
That's disturbing. But what is even more disturbing is this claim was repeated verbatim, without scrutiny, as undisputed "fact" by media more engaged in self-promotion, marketing and the celebration of consumer and celebrity culture than in reporting facts.
Researchers at Australia's Monash University and Britain's Manchester University posted their study in PLOS ONE on Nov. 1. In a nutshell, the study says white Americans who hold anti-black sentiments are more likely to keep a gun at home and oppose gun control regulations.
It also claims that black Americans who hold anti-white sentiments are more likely to keep a gun at home and oppose gun control regulations.
It also says Americans who own guns, while obviously racist to begin with, became more racist after they purchased a firearm.
One of the researchers, Kerry O'Brien, told The Daily News on Nov. 1 (in a "story" with the lead paragraph that says, "Racism and guns go together") that the premise for the study was, per capita, more white Americans own firearms and, per capita, more blacks are victims of gun violence.
Obviously, racism must be the answer. "There has already been research showing that blacks are more likely to be shot," O'Brien told The News, "so we thought there must be something happening between the concept of being black and some whites wanting guns."
It took a day or two for people to think to examine the "story" and check the "facts."
Libertarian political commentator and magazine editor Greg Gutfeld was among the first to accurately define the study's premise as "totally false" in a Fox Nation discussion on Nov. 2.
Apparently, Gutfeld said, the study's researchers failed to actually research statistics compiled by the U.S. Justice Department that show 93 percent of black victims of gun-related homicide were killed by black perpetrators, while 84 percent of white victims of gun-related homicide were killed by white perpetrators.
"There is an obvious problem with this claim," agreed author and economist John Lott, noting it took him less than six hours to refute and debunk virtually every statement in the study using cold, hard facts.
"Disappointingly, none of the media coverage on this paper even bothered asking other academics to critique these claims," Lott writes. "The notion that gun owners must be racist appears to fit journalists' worldview so well it probably never dawned on them that this research was fatally flawed."
Lott and Gutfeld both said liberals who disarm people make them more likely to be victims of gun violence.
"If you really want to confront racism and gun ownership, ask why liberals keep pushing new taxes and fees on gun owners that primarily disarm poor blacks," Lott asks. "Why don't liberals think that poor blacks can be trusted with guns?"
"If there's anything worse than bad science, it's really bad science," Gutfeld said. "And you make bad science by using your academic perch to push political ideology and bigoted stereotypes."