Never-Trump columnist Mona Charen faced intense social media backlash after insisting that violent crime, aside from murder, was not rising despite crime being a major midterm election issue.
On Saturday, Charen tweeted a link to a Pew Research Center survey on crime leading up to the midterm election. The link, she stated, proved that, despite voters’ concerns for crime, violent crime “other than murder” was not higher than usual.
“Other than murder, violent crime is not up. Did you know that? Violent crime is a key midterm voting issue, but what does the data say?” Charen, who is a policy editor for The Bulwark, tweeted.
The tweet was largely attacked as a “hilarious” caveat to counter Republicans’ focus on crime.
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Republican communicator Matt Whitlock joked, “’Other than murder’ is the most hilarious caveat ever.”
“’Other than that, Mrs Lincoln, how was the play?”’ Radio host Erick Erickson tweeted.
Townhall.com columnist Derek Hunter wrote, “Imagine being so f—ked up with TDS that not only do you sell out every policy you ever claimed to care about, but you actually write the sentence, ‘Other than murder, violent crime is not up.’ Other than murder? ‘Other than the iceberg & all the death, how was the Titanic trip?’”
“Murder is by far the most easily visible and free from reporting biases crime. If murder is up, other crimes are too…they’re probably just being reported at lower rates. Also…murder is KINDA A BIG DEAL!,” Club for Growth senior analyst Andrew Follett wrote.
“I can’t believe this still needs to be said but ‘crime is down except for murder’ is not a winning or persuasive argument,” Washington Post columnist Helaine Olen commented.
Axiom Strategies VP of Communications Matt Wolking tweeted, “If you’re not dead or don’t know a family member who has been murdered, things are great!”
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In response to a criticism, Charen doubled-down on her comment.
“All crime is bad. I’m against it. But it is also a fact that perceptions of crime and actual crime are often out of sync. That may be true now. I found the Pew data surprising. That’s why I posted,” she wrote.
Although the Pew Research Center link Charen shared showed “no increase” in the U.S. violent crime rate, the federal surveys were limited to 2021. In addition, the link showed that murders increased by roughly 30% between 2019 and 2020 in “one of the largest year-over-year increases ever recorded” and continued to increase in 2021.
Meanwhile, some surveys have shown that violent crimes including murder within many major cities rather than nationally have increased significantly in 2022. Washington D.C., Baltimore, Seattle and Los Angeles all saw an uptick in reported violent crimes as early as May.
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However, Democrats and their allies in the media have attempted to downplay crime concerns by accusing Republicans of exaggerating the issue for the election. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, D., claimed that voter concerns over crime were part of a GOP “conspiracy” to manipulate the election.