With Source Suspended, Will Media Retract ‘Kidnapping Capital’ Story?

One of the big problems with recentcoverage of immigration was the portrayal of the state of Arizona as a remarkably violent place due to the flood of unauthorized immigrants.It was a stew of misinformation, and one of the most prevalent claims was that Phoenix was The Kidnapping Capital of the Country (and No. 2 inthe entire world).

That story always looked a little shaky, as this ThinkProgress review pointed out (7/9/10). Now it looks like there could be more problems. A brief item in the New York Times today (3/4/11) reported that Phoenix’s public safety managerwas suspended

while an audit is being conducted to determine whether he inflated kidnapping statistics to win federal grant money, officials said on Thursday. The police reported more than 350 kidnappings in 2008 and said that almost all of them were linked to border violence, prompting some to label Phoenix the kidnapping capital of the United States. The actual number might have been closer to 250, officials said.

ABC News led the way on this story–you can still see Brian Ross‘ 2009 report, “Kidnapping Capital of the USA,” here. Will he be doing an update?

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.