There are some things that really ought NOT to be analyzed from a partisan perspective. It is destructive of the body politic, counterproductive, and deeply inappropriate. As the toxin of politics permeates every nook and cranny of society, several symptoms can be seen. One such example came this week from National Public Radio (NPR), which applied partisan analysis to the pandemic in an article titled, “Pro-Trump counties now have far higher COVID death rates. Misinformation is to blame.”
Since May 2021, people living in counties that voted heavily for Donald Trump during the last presidential election have been nearly three times as likely to die from COVID-19 as those who live in areas that went for now-President Biden. That’s according to a new analysis by NPR that examines how political polarization and misinformation are driving a significant share of the deaths in the pandemic.
NPR looked at deaths per 100,000 people in roughly 3,000 counties across the U.S. from May 2021, the point at which vaccinations widely became available. People living in counties that went 60% or higher for Trump in November 2020 had 2.78 times the death rates of those that went for Biden. Counties with an even higher share of the vote for Trump saw higher COVID-19 mortality rates.
In October, the reddest tenth of the country saw death rates that were six times higher than the bluest tenth, according to Charles Gaba, an independent health care analyst who’s been tracking partisanship trends during the pandemic and helped to review NPR’s methodology. Those numbers have dropped slightly in recent weeks, Gaba says: “It’s back down to around 5.5 times higher.”
NPR’s goal here is two-fold: dunk on Trump voters, and secondly, anoint themselves as noble purveyors of truth. Taxpayer-funded NPR’s own recent history includes suppressing the truth and spreading misinformation, first burying the Hunter Biden laptop story on the eve of the 2020 presidential election, and then lying that U.S. intelligence agencies and news organizations had discredited that story.
To highlight how awful NPR’s partisan “analysis” is, I took their tactics to homicide rates, which is of interest to the firearms community. Thanks to the great wonder (and sewer) that is the Internet, all the data is available to the public. You can find 2020 County Health Rankings National Data (copy) and County Presidential Election Returns 2000-2020 (copy) online. Looking at the two datasets, I found the Top 10 Counties by Homicide Rate and their 2020 Biden vote share. Here are the results (homicide rates are per 100,000 people):
|1) Baltimore City (Maryland) – Homicide Rate: 39 – Biden Vote Share: 87.28%|
|2) St. Louis City (Missouri) – Homicide Rate: 39 – Biden Vote Share: 82.23%|
|3) Orleans (Louisiana) – Homicide Rate: 37 – Biden Vote Share: 83.15%|
|4) Petersburg City (Virginia) – Homicide Rate: 37 – Biden Vote Share: 87.66%|
|5) Dallas (Alabama) – Homicide Rate: 35 – Biden Vote Share: 68.46%|
|6) Macon (Alabama) – Homicide Rate: 33 – Biden Vote Share: 81.49%|
|7) Coahoma (Mississippi) – Homicide Rate: 33 – Biden Vote Share: 70.82%|
|8) Wilkinson (Mississippi) – Homicide Rate: 33 – Biden Vote Share: 66.61%|
|9) Phillips (Arkansas) – Homicide Rate: 32 – Biden Vote Share: 58.04%|
|10) Holmes (Mississippi) – Homicide Rate: 32 – Biden Vote Share: 81.18%|
The Top 10 counties by homicide rate are all strongly pro-Biden counties. See how cheap and easy it is to play the same games that NPR is playing?
I think that vaccine misinformation is a problem, but so is the coercion being pushed by governments around the world. While trust in institutions is eroding nationally, open media hostility like NPR’s toward those not trusting vaccines is only going to entrench them.
NPR, which is in part (involuntarily) funded by pro-Second Amendment taxpayers, likes to dunk on those very people. I used to listen to NPR a long time ago when I had more patience to tolerate their bias and laughable coverage of guns and the Second Amendment, but over time, it appears that NPR has only gotten more extreme and nakedly partisan. It’s too bad no one in power seems to have the will to privatize them and free taxpayers from supporting them.