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Television Shows Misrepresenting Facts: CBS’ “FBI: Most Wanted” Saying AR-15s are a machine gun, Police concerned about safety

8 Feb , 2020   Video

This new TV show is hardly unique in showing criminals using machine guns, though it goes further than many in indicating that an AR-15 is a machine gun. The FBI agents here express concern about facing a machine gun.

On TV shows, machine guns always seem to be the weapons of choice for bad guys when they get in shootouts with police. Some hyperbole is to be expected on television, but the level of exaggeration has become pretty over-the-top. In real life, criminals use machine guns so rarely that a 2016 survey of prison inmates only broke down the numbers for uses of handguns, rifles, and shotguns. The survey did not even mention fully automatic weapons. Since 1934, there are only two know uses ever of a machine gun being used in a murder. And even before 1934 they were very rare.

The first five segments here are from ABC’s The Rookie, one episode from NBC’s Chicago PD, and two episodes from CBS’s Magnum PI. Police are the targets in all but one of the below episodes from the 2018-19 Season (the single exception is the first episode of Magnum PI). This list is probably very far from exhaustive. One question is where do these television show writers think that the criminals are obtaining all these machine guns, certainly not at your local gun store.

The Rookie (Season1): E2, E4, E9, E17, E20

Magnum PI (Season 1): E1, E15

Chicago P.D. (Season 6): E14

In the current season we haven’t been keeping close track, but other recent examples include:

CBS’ SWAT (Season 3): E11 January 15 2020

CBS’ FBI (Season 2): E12 January 14, 2020)

Fox’s Deputy (Season 1): E1 January 2, 2020

Other examples of television media bias include.

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