News story attacked

A Dec. 22 USA Today coverage has drawn criticism for misprepresenting police killings in the United States.

Using headlines “Ambush Recharges Debate” and “Ambush Killings Are Not Uncommon” together with a graph headed “POLICE DEATHS ON THE RISE,” the newspaper left the impression that ambushes of police are on the rise—from 100 last year to 123 this year—and that ambushes are a major factor.

Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) and Vox pointed out that those interpretations are possible only by limiting analysis to the current year. In most years, according to Vox, most killings of police officers are accidental.

“USA Today could have averaged several recent years to see if there was a meaningful trend,” FAIR said.