Clarion-Ledger Gets Homicide Facts Wrong | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Clarion-Ledger Gets Homicide Facts Wrong

To boot, this is a dramatically wrong statement. (Thanks to golden eagle for catching it.)

In a front-page story today, The Clarion-Ledger reported on the city's rising homicide rate, warning that the 36 to date this year is approaching the "record of 57 in 2004"—incidentally when Mayor Harvey Johnson was presiding over dramatically dropping crime, even as The Clarion-Ledger was downplaying the progress.

A Dec. 5, 1994, Clarion-Ledger report began:

"Jackson had the nation's 12th highest homicide rate in 1993 among cities with more than 100,000 residents, according to the FBI. In a report released over the weekend, the FBI said last year's 87 slayings gave Jackson a homicide rate of 41.9 per 100,000 residents. Among Southeastern cities, only New Orleans, Atlanta and Birmingham, all of which have larger populations than Jackson, had higher rates per 100,000 residents. The 87 Jackson slayings recorded in 1993 set a new record for the most violent deaths in one year. But 89 slayings have been recorded in 1994 with less than four weeks left in the year."

Somewhere we've got a chart showing the last several decades. Jackson's most violent years were in the '80s and the first half of the '90s. The truth is that the year the Ledger says had the record number of murders, 2004, saw murders cut almost in half from a decade earlier. But that's not what is on the front page of this pitiful rag.

I've got to say for the record that I am damn tired of factchecking The Clarion-Ledger's stories for them.

Previous Comments

ID
114544
Comment

Ms. Ladd, I am totally in agreement with you on the CL's unbelievably poor factual reporting. However, I would point out that JFP seems to have some "biases" of its own. I note that you recently indicated (in the print version) that some of Melton's posse beat a young man at the Upper Level Club while he was handcuffed. This is most certainly NOT true. I am just curious as to how you came to that particular conclusion.

Author
docj
Date
2007-09-10T16:58:27-06:00
ID
114545
Comment

The homicide rate topped 100 at some point in the late 1980s/early 1990s--peaking at, if I am not mistaken, 101 or 103. 87 is definitely not the highest number we've had.

Author
Tom Head
Date
2007-09-10T17:03:05-06:00
ID
114546
Comment

Someone just sent me a chart (from the Ledger) showing that the highest homicide rates were in 1994 (91) and 1995 (92). The latest rate since 1985 was 39 in 2000. The 80s weren't bad, but the murder rate nearly double from 90 to 91 (40 to 76), which is widely attributed to the crack epidemic. (Robbery more than doubled those years.) 1994 also had the highest number of robberies on record since 1981, which had fallen nearly by half by 2002.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-09-10T17:04:10-06:00
ID
114547
Comment

The Ledger chart does not show any triple-digit murders, and I don't remember seeing any in our files, either. It's possible that you saw a number that includes justifiable homicide, which the FBI does not allow to be counted for obvious reasons.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-09-10T17:05:21-06:00
ID
114548
Comment

docj, everyone has biases. We tend to lean toward the truth, and allow facts to shape our biases. We're honest enough never to pretend that we're not biased. That's a lie that some journalists like to tell. Never trust a journalist who tells you he/she is "unbiased" or "objective." That person is lying to you. I said that witnesses reported that young men traveling with Melton beat a handcuffed man. And it is a fact that witnesses said that.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-09-10T17:08:11-06:00
ID
114549
Comment

Good stuff, Donna. I'm betting justifiable homicide was in fact the difference, since I was relying on day-to-day media numbers rather than FBI numbers, but I definitely remember the media reporting at the end of the year, at least twice, that there had been triple-digit homicides. (One nitpick: The blog entry mentions 54 murders to date. This is not quite true; there have been 36 murders to date. 54 is the projected number of murders for 2007, incorporating the next four months.)

Author
Tom Head
Date
2007-09-10T17:12:40-06:00
ID
114550
Comment

Oh right. Good catch. I'm typing too fast here. Will fix. Yeah, I remember Johnson opponents getting upset that the city didn't include justifiable homicides in final murder tallies. Um, they couldn't.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-09-10T17:14:02-06:00
ID
114551
Comment

All good points, Ms. Ladd, but isn't there some journalistic responsibility to provide "all" the truth, i.e., WHO were those "witnesses" and what "bias" might they have? Did they appear to be credible? Could they have reasons to report what they reported? I only say this to offer that I will not reveal my ident but I am one of the medical people who saw this patient, and he was not beaten at all. we did have to escort the mayor out of the emergency room, by the way . . .

Author
docj
Date
2007-09-10T17:15:51-06:00
ID
114552
Comment

PS, your murder rate data seems to be accurate. the highest rates were in the late 80's/ early 90's, primarily associated with and/or attributed to cocaine.

Author
docj
Date
2007-09-10T17:17:47-06:00
ID
114553
Comment

Agreed. It confuses me, to be honest--does the current running tally of 36 murders, for example, exclude justifiable homicide? I don't see how it could, because in some cases the circumstances surrounding the homicides aren't clear yet.

Author
Tom Head
Date
2007-09-10T17:18:56-06:00
ID
114554
Comment

Well, I can't tell you everything I know about the witnesses; the point is that we have sources for information before we publish it. And, no, we cannot always tell everything we know at given moment for various reasons. We do protect sources as we provide information, and sometimes we cannot yet reveal something that we know. Sorry to talk in riddles, but that is the answer. And I didn't say Moore was beaten to a pulp with massive obvious injuries; I wasn't told that was the case, either. It sounds like this alleged incident happened before y'all arrived. And Moore was taken to the hospital in the ambulance with Melton riding along. Why was that done if nothing was wrong with him?

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-09-10T17:20:33-06:00
ID
114555
Comment

Also, I just realized that we're off-thread here, docj. Any further comments on the Upper Level incident should go under my editor's note this week where I mention the allegations.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-09-10T17:21:52-06:00
ID
114556
Comment

Yeah, I don't know, Tom. I wondered that when I saw the story. But I've been busy with other state-focused stories today and haven't had time to pick at it much until golden pointed out that egregious error. But truth is, not many end up being justifiable, and the ones that are tend to be obvious in some way from the beginning. So if the Ledge's number is right, and it sounds pretty accurate, then it's probably pretty close. I had wondered when people would really notice the mounting body count. And the creepy circumstances of some of these deaths certainly remind me of the crack days. It's tragic that Jackson may be dropping back into those times even as cities around us are showing improvement. It goes without saying that we need JPD leadership of some sort. Right now, we have none.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-09-10T17:24:53-06:00
ID
114557
Comment

Sorry, I'm new to this blog deal, didn't really know where to put this but I was kinda concerned about what I read in the print version. Like I said, they guy didn't have a scratch on him. I'd rather not get into all of what happened on a blog but if you want to email me I could tell you some very interesting things about the little ambulance ride and other stuff . . . thanks.

Author
docj
Date
2007-09-10T17:25:56-06:00
ID
114558
Comment

Yep, I'd love to do that. Write me at ladd (at) jacksonfreepress (dot) com to get us started on whatever account you wish. And I'll only say one more thing: Witnesses could see (or photograph) kids jumping off a command center swinging at a guy in handcuffs, and that doesn't mean the blows landed exactly as they were meant. Let's talk further in e-mail.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-09-10T17:28:25-06:00
ID
114559
Comment

Anyone missing one white Russian? ;-)

Author
pikersam
Date
2007-09-10T17:39:41-06:00
ID
114560
Comment

The Russian checked out of The Carter and went home after the joyride from hell, Pike. (And I take great pleasure in the fact that no one at the CL probably has any idea of what we're talking about.) Speaking of the Ledger ... OK, let's assume that neither the reporter or the editor of this page 1 piece had any frackin' clue that murders spiked in Jackson (and around the U.S.) in the early 1990s. Let's assume that they made an honest mistake in not bothering to actually check the archives to find out when murders were really at their highest in Jackson. OK, even after making those assumptions, how in hell is it that they managed to land on *2004* as the year when homicides were supposedly at their highest!?! If I was a conspiracy theorist, which I'm not, I would offer up that some FoF (Friends o' Frank) at the Ledger purposefully put that on page 1 to provide him cover, knowing that most people never bother to read the corrections that they bury. But I don't believe that editors at the Ledger would so such a thing. Just like they would never, ever conveniently forget to tell readers about their legal entanglement with a lying-under-oath-mayor-that-they-endorse during his campaign. Nor would the same editors who reported on major controversy involving said mayoral candidate and his best buddy, a said city council candidate, back during the wild days of the 1990s forget to mention that controversy during their campaign coverage. I could go on, but I don't have the stomach for it.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-09-10T18:10:49-06:00
ID
114561
Comment

Donna, thanks for boosting my ego--oops, I mean, giving me credit for finding that egregious error, though I wasn't really looking for the recognition. That may've been the most glaring error I've ever seen in the fishwrap and I felt like I needed to share it. You've told us time and time again how bad their reporting is, but this takes the cake.

Author
golden eagle
Date
2007-09-10T22:06:16-06:00
ID
114562
Comment

BTW, Docj, I'm sure you know the rules more than I do, but are you violating any HIPAA laws by disclosing what happened to patients to a third party? If the patient gave permission for the info to be released, then I don't have a problem with it. Also, I do appreciate that you have info to the contrary that has been reported, but I just wouldn't you getting into some kind of trouble for revealing such info.

Author
golden eagle
Date
2007-09-10T22:13:53-06:00
ID
114563
Comment

Ladd, I know you are tired of fact-checking but somebody's got to do it. I immediately knew that number was wrong... I was living in a neighborhood where a woman stabbed her husband in '95 and I remembered the conversations that generated about the high homicide rate in Jackson.

Author
lanier77
Date
2007-09-11T08:25:05-06:00
ID
114564
Comment

Did they run a correction today? I didn't see one. Surely somebody at the Ledger read that page one story yesterday and said, "there is no way the homicide record was in 2004." I mean, come on.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-09-11T08:43:58-06:00
ID
114565
Comment

Eagle you have an appropriate concern about hipaa, however, this matter was in open litigation - you can't then claim a right to privacy. Also, when the DA asks you to be a witness or requests information this is likewise not protected by hipaa. My intent was obviously not to disclose "protected health information" but to address a blatant mis-statement which appeared in JFP. I offered to discuss other details w/ Ms Ladd if she is interested.

Author
docj
Date
2007-09-11T08:56:33-06:00
ID
114566
Comment

docj, you are definitely threading on some dangerous ground with goving so much information about your involvement in Tonoris' trip to the ER. Just remember that it wouldn't be hard at all to make you known for this comment. Are you familiar with HIPPA LAWS? It is also unfair, in my opinion, for you to say with so much certainty that "....and he was not beater AT ALL." You said that you are one of the medical people who saw the patient, correct? Are you familiar with "closed head injuries." IT would be grossly unfail to try this case here on the blog. Let's just wait for the evidence to be presented in court and my recommendation to you is to get in touch with someone who can give you information relative to CONFIDENTIALITY and your responsibility as a "medical Person" for ensuring it for all patients - now just for justification to save melton from one of his many negative acts against citizens in this community. Trust me, people are sick and tired of his mess and I must admit, I AM TRULY TIRED!

Author
justjess
Date
2007-09-11T09:43:15-06:00
ID
114567
Comment

Anyone missing one White Russian?" Pikersam, I found him. He's hiding under the green on the pool table with the 10 TON elephant who hides there also. LOL!!!!!!!!!

Author
justjess
Date
2007-09-11T09:56:02-06:00
ID
114568
Comment

I'm talking to docj offline. I will say that he hasn't yet offered anything to support the "blatant misstatement" that I supposedly made about young men jumping off the Mobile Command Center and hitting Tonari Moore. I don't believe he was present at that point, although his point is that Moore did not have visible injuries (thus, explaining his objection to the idea that he was "beaten" as people would visualize a beating victim.) But that doesn't mean that the witnesses' statements about they say happen did not happen. But let's let this one lie here. Without being able to have the full conversation on public, it doesn't make sense to have half of it here. Please, no more comments on this here for now.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-09-11T10:17:00-06:00
ID
114569
Comment

docj, what HIPAA manual are you reading from? This becomes a "teachable moment" for people who read here so, let's make sure that you have the facts. Your information flies in the face of what I have here befor me and from the latest update.

Author
justjess
Date
2007-09-11T10:18:39-06:00
ID
114570
Comment

Also, I already said up above that the Upper Level events are off-topic here, so I will likely move them when I get a chance. Thanks.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-09-11T10:20:27-06:00
ID
114571
Comment

Thanks ladd. You and I were posting at the same time and I didn't read until after I posted your earlier request about blogging under you Editor's Note" for the week. My BAD.

Author
justjess
Date
2007-09-11T10:30:59-06:00
ID
114572
Comment

The Ledger has a map of where homicides have occurred in Jackson. If correct, and I know that's a big if, it is very interesting. In other words, they happen all over the city.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-09-11T14:51:56-06:00
ID
114573
Comment

I checked every nook and cranny of the Ledge's print edition today...I saw no corrections regarding their record homicide story. We'll be waiting longer than the Morgan-Quitno story for them to acknowledge this faux pas, if they do so at all.

Author
golden eagle
Date
2007-09-11T15:19:50-06:00
ID
114574
Comment

Has anyone asked?

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-09-11T15:20:23-06:00
ID
114575
Comment

If a tree fell in the woods, does it make a sound? I thought about e-mailing David Hampton on it. I hadn't taken the time to do it.

Author
golden eagle
Date
2007-09-11T15:26:54-06:00
ID
114576
Comment

i emailed the reporter and he replied back "yep I'm on it". whatever that means.

Author
jd
Date
2007-09-11T15:46:43-06:00
ID
114577
Comment

He means he's heard about this thread, probably. ;-)

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-09-11T15:55:23-06:00
ID
114578
Comment

Did the Ledger run a correction, yet?

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-09-12T09:46:08-06:00
ID
114579
Comment

I see the CL's map got some much needed corrections since this morning. When I first saw it around 7:30 am the map showed murders occuring in the wrong areas. Three of the hotspots on the map showed the same incident when clicked.

Author
BuyJxn
Date
2007-09-12T22:32:34-06:00

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