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The Reload reports: (previous discussions here, here, and indirectly here).
This isn't the first time the CDC has papered over a study giving politically undesirable answers -- it's not even the first time doing so for a Kleck paper, though at least that one had the fig leaf that Kleck misread the survey scope.
But the discussion here is unusually damning. It's possible that Devin Hughes, the guy signing many of the initial e-mails here, genuinely believes his argument that only the defensive gun uses that make it into the tiny fraction of media and police reports GVPedia has access to 'counts'. If so it's not really a defense of his logic or math, which rests on the claim that no one has found more 'confirmed' defensive gun uses than the Gun Violence Archive, when nearly everyone, including other anti-gun groups, come away from this topic with higher counts. Instead, there's a lot of evidence that GVA finds it appalling -- and could compel the CDC -- merely on the spectre that someone might reference the different numbers and might not submit to the GVA's policy goals.
To their credit, the CDC's people did not immediately fold on the topic; their initial responses are polite, but point to other reasonable interpretations of data. Against their credit, this interest faded after an unrecorded or unFOIAable Teams meeting, set up by the strongly anti-gun Senator Durbin, including the CDC's Acting Principle Deputy Director, with the Teams Meeting on either September 15th or 16th, and basically no FOIA'able discussion after that. There was no discussion in this discovery looking to talk to any of the many researchers finding higher numbers. Nor was there any point where the CDC attempted to ask Kleck -- who is on record saying the CDC has not, so it can't merely be a FOIA foible.
Worse, while playing games with FOIA redactions has long been a boogeyman of ... basically every political activist group, here we see :
Incompetence, perhaps? But in addition to the pages that are redacted in full under the poorly-defined b5 exceptions (probably the 'internal deliberations' prong) to FOIA, as was the above exclamation of surprise about Bryant's NAA links, it's also noticeable what isn't there are all.
Notably, Hughes claimed to have attached a slide deck from that Teams meeting. Maybe he forgot it, and missed the Outlook/Mozilla warning? But probably not. I doubt there's anything amazing in there, but in turn it's hard to imagine anything present that could not or should not be disclosed. Maybe they had a genuinely compelling argument! But if it's the same already-refused arguments repeated, it would look a lot more like the CDC's higher-ups are driven by the influence of a Senator and the White House than by anything in the data.
It's also worth spelling out one part of the process to find this, which is somewhat unusually public. MorosKostas begun the FOIA process in June, after reading a The Trace article a couple days earlier mentioning the removal had happened sometime in April. (Notably, Hughes from above is a former Trace employee.) He only got the response on December 12th. This... leaves some !!fun!! questions about political accountability; even if this particular example would not matter, five months is a significant portion of even today's extended political seasons.
((Not that it would or could matter for Durbin; for his state, this is a nothingburger, or even a bonus.))
More broadly, though, this points to a greater issue with the death of expertise. There are increasing campaigns to open up the CDC for gun violence research, often countered by gun owners pointing out a tendency for the organization to be captured by political forces, and it's hard to see this as anything but a poster child for that problem. Worse, you can point to the existing version of the page, which now reads:
Emphasis added. If they ask the question enough, perhaps they'll get the answers the political activists want -- and if not, they can ask for money to try again.
So, ignoring a word tweak here/or there, they basically replaced
I'm not sure how any of y'all are reading the new word as being notably more pro-gun-control. It seems like an accurate summary of a research area where estimates cover a 50x range.
I think that going from "wide variability" without mentioning the range does matter on its own, even as someone that wishes Kleck was a bit more fastidious on his research. Not just that it's hiding or papering over data, though that's not great, but that a lot of mainstream activism relies on and communicates that these numbers are far, far lower than downsides like unlawful homicide or assault. GVA objects to even the lower-end estimate (60k) from the previous report for that reason.
And there a bunch of more complex issues, where to many people it seems like the desire to wipe the board and start again with new research coincides a) with the places with the greatest political disagreement, rather than disagreement with the merits, and b) where changes in political affiliation with likely researchers and with publications make it unlikely to see the same reads present, even if they were true.
On the other hand, I didn't write this up in June, even though I'd been keeping an eye on MorosKostas well before that. Nor did the Reload, even as its lead writer did.
Having a couple major gun control advocacy group specifically say that they want the number taken down because it undermines their policy goals, and then the CDC doing it because the gun control advocacy group asked, makes it a far bigger deal. This one is small, and not that aggressive, and ... it's the one they got caught on.
I don't object to the claim the evidence illustrates GVA is biased. I object to the claim that it provides convincing evidence the CDC is biased. In order to demonstrate that, I don't think what you showed is sufficient.
For instance, the fact the advocates were ignored by the CDC prior to getting support from the White House suggests that the CDC is not prioritizing leftwing advocates. Likewise, the fact this exchange took place over months suggests this isn't simple activism.
Moreover, the basic argument that this conversation caused the website to change doesn't indicate bias unless we take it as granted that the decision-making was bias. The more charitable explanation is that the advocates drew attention to a problem and the CDC eventually agreed in a neutral manner, at which point the only reasonable option was to change the website.
As I see it, the only way to demonstrate your preferred theory over the more charitable one is to demonstrate that the website change was, in fact, biased/unreasonable. IMO, you haven't done so.
What slate is being wiped clean? The CDC original reports are still publicly available. No research has been rescinded. I'd be shocked if future literature reviews just flat out ignored research from before year X.
I don't think I made that claim; my objections remain if the CDC 'merely' revises their outreached based on poor arguments backed by Senators and the White House.
In a report that could not be recorded or presented to FOIA requests? Where none of these compelling arguments be summarized by any member? Where no 'expert' except the handful of the most bombastic gun control advocates were questioned, including the people the site had previously cited, about the matter?
Would you prefer I use the term 'buried' (or compare)? MorosKostas noticed this specific matter because The Trace used the removal here to argue as evidence that the study should be and was in the process of being re-evaluated.
I think you're vastly underestimating the available degrees of freedom for meta-study or literature review authors. Starting from whether such a broad literature review to note natively exclude data from before a start date is done.
It seems to me that if you believe the CDC revised its outreach due to poor arguments by liberals, there are a couple hypothesis
The CDC is leftward biased.
The CDC just bends to the administration in power.
The CDC just acts mostly randomly out of both scientific and political incompetence.
The fact you are accusing the CDC of "papering over" data suggests you don't believe #3. So, it seems to me you either believe #1 (despite apparently denying it here) or you believe #2. That is my perspective, but I apologize for putting words in your mouth and am open to being wrong here.
Is it normal to archive arguments for a change to a single sentence on one of the CDC's many websites? Honest question.
Why would you expect the specific string "Armed resistance to crime" to appear on the CDC website? Or "defensive gun uses". There are myriad ways to discuss either topic that don't use those specific strings. The topic itself is discussed quite a bit by the CDC, and there must be something wrong with Google because even the literal phrase "defensive gun use" is used on the CDC website.
But more generally, the idea that it's buried, imo, rests on the assumption that the new wording specifically "buries" the unfavorable study (2.5 million) and not the favorable one (60,000). This seems not true to me, or at least not obvious.
I'm completely get how literature reviews can be biased, but when you use phrases like "wipe the board and start again" - that, to me, literally implies ignoring all studies before year XXXX - including favorable studies. If all you mean was that this specific study would be dropped or all right-leaning studies would be dropped.... then say that? Why use totalizing rhetoric? And then provide evidence this will actually happen when the CDC reviews the evidence.
Again, I don't particularly care whether it was #1 or #2 from your hypothesis, or that it's some excluded option (eg, the CDC bends to the first Senator to ask, and red tribers know not to ask because them doing this would be far greater a scandal).
At least in theory, it's a good deal of the point behind FOIA, although it can sometimes be excluded from FOIA under the b(5) exception (this is probably legitimate for the redacted 'drafts' of the new webpage). That's why there's 100+ pages that the CDC found responsive.
It's just that none of them contain a better argument than Hughes' insistence that his system was complete, somehow; most don't even contain a worse one. Instead, they're almost all about harm or visibility, or about The Trace asking on the topic.
That's the name of the underlying Kleck study.
That's the term of art used in the 2013 NASEM piece.
From the top of my search list:
the fast fact page which just had this information stripped from it,
firearms as a violence prevention topic without any mention of defense,
funding for new research that doesn't mention defense but does have a link to the 2013 NASEM report in case you wanted to dig a lot of pages in
a transcript of a press briefing where someone asked "I was wondering if this report addresses defensive gun use or justifiable shootings, which is a highly contested figure and is often used by outside groups as a political talking plan." (the answer was no).
a NVDRS preview pointing to 210 lawful self-defense cases.
a gun possession among youth paper
an Addressing Key Gaps paper that mentions defense only in the sentence that "In the self-protection model, adolescents are theorized to carry firearms as a means of self-defense because they reside in high crime neighborhoods..." [internal citations removed]
and a whole bunch more NVDRS previews.
There are no direct mentions of even the low-end estimates from the previous "Fast Facts" page, and there are no serious engagement with the concept. Does your search look different?
Because I think this is more serious a problem, from a perspective of social trust.
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