Baltimore Sun: "Fat, Drunk and Stupid"?

October 1st, 2005 11:47 AM

In an article October 1 by Kelly Brewington, the Baltimore Sun takes Former Education Secretary Bill Bennett to task for his unusual comment on his radio show this week. The article is focused mostly on the reactions to that comment.

The reporter writes, "Democrat leaders leapt on Bennett, a prominent Republican analyst, describing his statement as the latest in a long trail of public comments by white conservatives unfairly linking blacks to crime and sexuality."

Source: hard copy, Baltimore Sun, page 6A, 10/01/0522

Here is Bennett's statement, "...if you wanted to reduce crime, if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down."

The source of this conclusion was, as the article notes and Bennett said on air, the book Freakonomics by Stephen Levitt and Stephen Dubner. Nowhere in this 24-paragraph article does the reporter bother to refer to this readily available book, cite its statistics and claim they are inaccurate.

Anyone who bothers to look at the crime statistics for any state in the Union, or the whole nation, would find that the racial group with the highest crime rate per thousand is African-Americans. But contrary to this article's false premise, this is not a white-black issue. The same statistics show that the racial group with the lowest crime rate per thousand is Asian-Americans, not Caucasians.

Near the end, this article even admits, indirectly, that Mr. Bennett's comment is factually correct. It refers to Jeffery Ian Ross, a University of Baltimore criminologist, who "said that minorities are disproportionately caught up in the criminal justice system for complex reasons."

That's a euphemism for "blacks disproportionately commit crimes."

Anyone who bothers to research the causes of criminal activity will find that poverty contributes, and race contributes. But the strongest indicator of probable criminal conduct is children born illegitimately to young mothers who drop out of high school. The link between blacks and crime and sexual promiscuity is not "unfair," it is statistically real.

The reporter and her editor are apparently unaware that there's a tradition in English literature of using harsh examples to make a valid point. Jonathan Swift did that in his tract, "A Modest Proposal." He wrote that the poor Irish could benefit by fattening up their children to be killed and eaten by the English. No one took Swift as actually suggesting that this should be done.

If Bennett's admittedly harsh comment causes a similar effort for all Americans to look honestly at the causes of crime in this nation, it will serve a similar, good purpose. That is a purpose the Baltimore Sun has entirely missed.

Are this reporter and her editor "fat, drunk and stupid" as Dean Wormer said to Flounder when revoking the Charter of Delta House? I have no reason to believe that they are fat or drunk. But their work shows that they are stupid. Just a touch of competent research would have produced an entirely different article.