Fox News' reports about 'looting' stopped after the election
Fox News host Sean Hannity. (Image via screengrab.)

Republicans ran their 2022 midterm campaigns talking about the economy being a problem and complaining about inflation. Their first actions will focus on investigations into President Joe Biden.

In an interview with "Meet the Press," the presumed incoming chairman of the House Reform and Oversight Committee, Rep. James Comer (R-KY) cited a number of "scandals" that only viewers of the Fox networks would know. According to Comer he'll start with an investigation into the COVID-19 pandemic response. He did indicate that the team would investigate the response going back to Donald Trump's administration.

Washington Post columnist Phillip Bump noted that Comer cited the “looting” conversation.

"The idea that U.S. cities are riddled with looters is almost entirely a function of the right-wing media and Fox News," wrote Bump. "Yes, looting has occurred. Fox News is happy to show examples of it occurring. It’s worth noting that the network has mentioned 'looters' or 'looting' in nearly 400 chunks of airtime this year, more than three times as often as has CNN or MSNBC — a number of times that might well match the actual number of looting incidents on a 1-to-1 basis. (Again, we don’t have a lot of data on 'looting' as a crime.)"

But the idea that there is mass looting going on around the country justifies the GOP campaign around "crime" being an issue. Fox's coverage of "crimes" like looting surged in late September, Bump explained. It's a major change from the beginning of the year in 2022. Incidents of "looting" don't usually end in mass deaths and there have been significantly more mass shooting incidents than looting incidents.

"Continuing the analysis into this month, we see that mentions of crime on the network completely collapsed in the second third of this month — after the election was over," Bump noticed.

Comer said that he would be open to investigating mass shootings, but only from the "mental health" perspective. Congress passed a gun control bill in the summer but there are reports of law enforcement refusing to enforce laws on the books like red flag laws. Some of those are in Colorado Springs, where a mass shooting killed five people and injured many more.

Comer also said that Republicans want to investigate "fentanyl" deaths. Currently, drug overdose deaths are increasing as the opioid crisis continues to grow worse. Instead of addressing opioid deaths and the pharmaceutical industry, however, Republicans are focusing on fentanyl, which they attribute to the border.

Counting fentanyl deaths is more complicated than simply adding them up. According to the CDC, "Drug overdose deaths may involve multiple drugs; therefore, a single death might be included in more than one category when describing the number of drug overdose deaths involving specific drugs."

More than 71,000 people died of synthetic-opioid overdoses in 2021, the Washington Post reported last year.

There were 40,266 gun violence deaths this year in the U.S. as of Nov. 28, 2022. It includes 18,354 homicides/murders/unintentional shootings, and 21,912 suicides by gun, reported the Gun Violence Archives.

Read the full column at the Washington Post.

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