It’s time for another fantastically stupid “exclusive” news story from the folks at Fargo-based television news station Valley News Live.
Their big revelation? White people commit most of the crime in Fargo. A city where, according to the U.S. Census, the population is 90.2 percent white.
Shocking, I know.
Here’s an excerpt from VNL’s breathless report:
FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) – Valley News Live has obtained new statistics from the Fargo Police Department. They show the number of arrests over the last five years and categorize them by race.
The statistics are from January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2015.
The categories of race provided by the Fargo Police Department are: American Indian/Alaskan Native, Arab American, Asian/Pacific Islander, Asian/Pacific Islander of Hispanic Origin, Black, Indian or Alaskan, Native with Hispanic Origin, Unknown, White, and White with Hispanic Origin.
The report shows that from 2010 to 2015, there were 65,784 total arrests. Majority of those arrests (50,133) fall into the “White” category.
What’s kind of funny is that the data shows something very different from what the VNL headline claims. “Fargo PD stats show ‘whites’ commit more crimes than all other races combined,” it screams, but if we look at the demographics of Fargo what we find out is that whites are actually underrepresented in the arrest records.
According to what VNL is reporting, about 76.2 percent of the arrests made by the Fargo Police Department were of people who were white, meaning 23.8 percent were non-white.
But according to the 2010 census, 90.2 percent of Fargo citizens fall into the white category, and 9.8 percent are non-white.
So yes, whites make up the majority of the arrests, because whites make up the majority of Fargo’s residents. This is hardly “exclusive” news and anyone calling it that should be pointed at and mocked.
It is inflammatory though, I suppose. The sort of thing an unscrupulous “news” organization like VNL can use to whip up the social media hoopleheads and draw a lot of web traffic. And it’s working, I suppose.
They got my attention. Because the report is dumb. Very, very dumb. And sometimes, you just have to point that out.
Good journalism should reveal something, particularly when dealing with sensitive topics like the relationships between race and crime statistics. We could go and look up the arrest records in some historically black or Hispanic community and report an “exclusive” about how most of the people were arrested were black or Hispanic, and you know what it would reveal?