Upon first glance, the FBI’s news that hate crimes based on sexual orientation were up 11 percent in 2008 from the previous year suggests a giant uptick in violence against America’s LGBTQ population. However, as Andrew Sullivan and Mark Thompson remind us, although the topic of hate crimes is not one to downplay, it’s important to look closely at the story behind these kinds of statistical reports before drawing large-scale conclusions. –KA

Andrew Sullivan in The Atlantic:

Mark Thompson points out a left-wing ritual:

[T]hese particular FBI statistics are virtually useless for evaluating year-to-year trends – always have been, always will be. This year, the FBI itself went out of its way to warn against such readings, stating “our Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program doesn’t report trends in hate crime stats—yearly increases or decreases often occur because the number of agencies who report to us varies from year to year.”

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