Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Economist: Twitter Celebration of Jo Cox's Murder Radically Exaggerated

Yet another lefty "hate crime"-y hoax:
Yet the story was wrong. An investigation by The Economist has found that Hope Not Hate misrepresented the findings of its own report when first releasing it to the press. The report itself gave a confusing impression of the number of tweets that celebrated Ms Cox’s murder. We estimate that, in reality, of hundreds of thousands of tweets mentioning the MP by name, the number that celebrated her death was at most 1,500, and probably much lower.
Although press coverage of the story appeared to misread the report, that is not entirely the fault of journalists. The claim that 50,000 tweets celebrated Ms Cox’s death or praised her killer comes from the first paragraph of a press release sent out by Hope Not Hate ahead of the report’s publication. It does not appear in the study itself, which found only that a “majority” of the tweets, which related to both Ms Cox’s murder and the Brexit referendum more broadly, “related to specific calls for violence” (a term that is not defined).
Hope Not Hate admitted that its initial press release was incorrect and said that it was later changed. The charity referred us to the study’s authors, Imran Awan of Birmingham City University and Irene Zempi of Nottingham Trent University. Mr Awan agreed that newspaper headlines had oversimplified the study’s findings. Even so both authors retweeted articles repeating the press release’s false claim.
In their study, entitled “Jo Cox ‘deserved to die’”, Mr Awan and Ms Zempi examine a sample of 53,000 tweets with hashtags related to both Ms Cox’s murder and the Brexit referendum. The total number of tweets on these subjects during the period was significantly more than 53,000; the authors appear to have selected their sample by narrowing their search using hashtags including #refugeesnotwelcome and #DeportallMuslims.
The report does not say what proportion of the 53,000 sample tweets related to Ms Cox’s murder, and what share concerned Brexit more generally. When The Economist asked the authors for help, they declined to share their data with us, citing death threats they said they had received since the report’s release. So we undertook our own analysis, examining tweets from June and July that included the terms “Jo Cox” or “#JoCox”—some 341,000 unique messages. Of a random sample of 800 of these, none was celebratory, and just four seemed to be derogatory toward Ms Cox, criticising her support for Syrian refugees, for instance. From this, simple statistics suggest that the true number of tweets cheering the politician’s murder would lie between 0 and 1,500. (The Hope Not Hate report reproduces about 30.) Mr Awan notes that our sample did not include tweets that mentioned only the killer, Mr Mair; it is also likely that some tweets were deleted before our collection.
   Sooo...lefties start the rumor. Academicians clearly conspire to "confirm" it (obviously it was not an honest error or they'd share their data), an organization springs up to profit from it and advance the relevant agenda and the press falls for it uncritically. Oh and: this imaginary wave of hatred gets attributed to the Brexiteers.
   This sort of thing ought to be worrying you by now.


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