ESPN's FiveThirtyEight data journalism website is receiving criticism for continuing to publish a controversial crime analyst without revealing his law enforcement compensation.
New Orleans based "crime analyst" Jeff Asher has used his position at 538 to push so-called "Ferguson Effect" -- a claim that increased scrutiny of shootings by police have increased the crime rate.
“We do have to stick with the facts,” President Barack Obama told the International Association of Chiefs of Police in 2015. “What we can't do is cherry-pick data or use anecdotal evidence to drive policy or to feed political agendas.”
On Friday, FiveThirtyEight cited two pieces by Asher as "some of our best work" of 2017.
A public records request by Shadowproof revealed that Asher is paid by the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office, a fact not disclosed on 538.
[caption id="attachment_1188934" align="alignnone" width="623"] Jeff Asher's bio at FiveThirtyEight failures to disclose his payments from law enforcement[/caption]
"Asher’s failure to disclose his ties to law enforcement matters. His claimed independence lends credibility and an air of neutrality to his ideas, which benefit law enforcement agencies like the one that employs him," Shadowproof explained. "In the post-Ferguson era, Asher became a talking head regarding the so-called “Ferguson effect,” a theory he helped give credence to as a contributor to FiveThirtyEight. Asher argues that we need more proactive policing—as supplied by the drug war—to curb shootings."
Rory Fleming, the author of the Shadowproof story, blasted the continued failure to disclose Asher's payments from law enforcement: