W.S. Journal Criticizes N.Y. Times On Vet Homicide Story


The Wall Street Journal has taken the New York Times to task for promoting what the Veterans of Foreign Wars calls the “wacko-vet myth.” In a story last Sunday, the Times said that “committing homicide is an extreme manifestation of dysfunction for returning veterans.” It found 121 cases “in which veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan committed a killing in this country, or were charged with one, after their return from war.”

The Journal says the Times didn’t try to establish a causal relationship between war service and homicide. The Times reported no data on the size of the veteran population, or on the prevalence of homicide either in the general population or among young men, who are disproportionately represented among service members, the Journal complains. A New York Post writer estimated that if the Times figures are accurate, recent war vets are only about one-fifth as likely to be implicated in a homicide as the average 18- to 34-year-old. The Times said it probably undercounted the number of homicides by war vet, because it based its count on news reports. The Journal says “the Times is purporting to test a media stereotype by measuring its prevalence in the media.”

Link: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120044156451392637.html?mod=special_page_campaign2008_mostpop

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