ABC’s chief political analyst Matthew Dowd waded into the debate over gun control and terrorism Sunday with an easily disproved claim about the Las Vegas massacre.
Dowd began by rhetorically asking why many proponents of the Trump administration’s travel ban were also against tightening gun restrictions, implying that loose gun laws are a bigger threat to Americans than Islamic terrorists.
“Why do the same folks who push for a travel ban (which does nothing on security) also fight against gun reform, saying it will do nothing?” he asked.
Dowd then answered his own question with a claim about the Las Vegas massacre. “More Americans were killed in Vegas in one night than have been killed by radical Islam in last ten years,” he tweeted to his 76,000 followers.
The problem with Dowd’s claim, as several Twitter users quickly noted, is that it is not even remotely close to being true.
Stephen Paddock killed 58 people that were taking in a Sunday night country music show near the Las Vegas strip. It was a horrific slaughter, but it did not claim more lives than terrorist attacks carried out by Islamist terrorists in the last decade.
Radical Islamic terrorists have killed at least 90 Americans in seven separate attacks since 2007:
- Little Rock, Ark., 2009: one killed
- Fort Hood, Texas, 2009: 13 killed
- Boston Marathon, 2013: four killed
- Garland, Texas, 2015: two killed
- Chattanooga, Tenn., 2015: seven killed
- San Bernardino, Calif., 2015: 14 killed
- Orlando, Fla., 2016: 49 killed
After dozens of people called out Dowd’s error, he walked back the claim, saying that he meant to point out that there were more casualties — killed and wounded — in the Las Vegas shooting than in Islamic terror attacks over the past 10 years.
Dowd, who was a chief strategist for the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign and is now a described “proud independent,” has made dubious claims about Muslims and Islamic terror in the past.
Dowd blasted Fox News in May for doing a segment on the persecution of Christians, saying that the persecution of Muslims was a “bigger issue” in America and around the world.
However, a 2016 study found that 90,000 Christians were killed because of their faith that year, making them the most persecuted religion in the world. Almost one-third of those Christians were killed by Islamic extremists.
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