Television Shows Misrepresenting Facts: More media obsession with showing criminals using machine guns, the “FBI: Most Wanted”

20 Feb , 2020   Video

CBS, like all the other networks, are obsessed with showing criminals shooting machine guns. This example is from “FBI: Most Wanted” (Season 1, Episode 6, February 18, 2020). 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 known uses ever of a machine gun being used in a murder. And even before 1934 they were very rare.

The first five segments list below 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

FBI: Most Wanted (Season 1): E4 January 28, 2020, E6, February 18, 2020

NBC’s Chicago PD (Season 7): E10 January 8, 2020; E13 January 22, 2020.

Other examples of television media bias on this particular point can be found here.

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