One of my critiques of global warming alarmists is that they are trying to use a type of observation bias to leave folks with the impression that weather is becoming more severe. By hyping on every tail-of-the-distribution weather event in the media, they leave the impression that such events are becoming more frequent, when in fact they are just being reported more loudly and more frequently. I dealt with this phenomenon in depth in an older Fortune article, where I made an analogy to the famous "summer of the shark"
...let’s take a step back to 2001 and the “Summer of the Shark.” The media hysteria began in early July, when a young boy was bitten by a shark on a beach in Florida. Subsequent attacks received breathless media coverage, up to and including near-nightly footage from TV helicopters of swimming sharks. Until the 9/11 attacks, sharks were the third biggest story of the year as measured by the time dedicated to it on the three major broadcast networks’ news shows.
Through this coverage, Americans were left with a strong impression that something unusual was happening — that an unprecedented number of shark attacks were occurring in that year, and the media dedicated endless coverage to speculation by various “experts” as to the cause of this sharp increase in attacks.
Except there was one problem — there was no sharp increase in attacks. In the year 2001, five people died in 76 shark attacks. However, just a year earlier, 12 people had died in 85 attacks. The data showed that 2001 actually was a down year for shark attacks.
Yesterday I was stuck on a stationary bike in my health club with some Fox News show on the TV. Not sure I know whose show it was (O'Reilly? Hannity?) but the gist of the segment seemed to be that a recent murder by an illegal immigrant in San Francisco should be taken as proof positive of the Trump contention that such immigrants are all murderers and rapists. The show then proceeded to show a couple of other nominally parallel cases.
Yawn. It would be intriguing to flood an hour-long episode with stories of legal American citizens committing heinous crimes. One wonders if folks would walk away wondering if there was something wrong with those Americans.
One could pick any group of human beings and do a thirty-minute segment showing all the bad things members of that group had done. What this does not prove in the least is whether that group has any particular predilection towards doing bad things, or specifically in the case of Mexican immigrants, whether they commit crimes at a higher rate than any other group in this country. In fact, everything I read says that they do not, which likely explains why immigration opponents use this technique, just as climate alarmists try to flood the airwaves with bad weather stories because the actual trend data for temperatures does not tell the story they want to tell.