Recently, Rudy Giuliani raised some eyebrows when he got in a heated discussion with Michael Eric Dyson on Meet the Press. He was discussing the killing of Michael Brown by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri and said the following: “Ninety-three percent of blacks in America are killed by other blacks. We’re talking about the exception here.”
Personally, I didn't think pointing this out was especially illuminating or helpful given the racial angle on the controversy in Ferguson. However, the Washington Post's Michelle Ye Hee Lee decided to fact check Giuliani's statistic and gave it two Pinocchios. Why?:
Giuliani’s statistic is rooted in Department of Justice studies. But it lacks significant context — especially because race relations and police treatment of minorities are complex and emotionally-charged topics. ... Ultimately, it is misleading for Giuliani to simplify this topic to the 93 percent statistic and then omit the corresponding statistic for intraracial white murders.
She's kidding, right? To sum up, Giulani's statistic is correct, but he's being misleading because it's 1) an "emotionally-charged" topic and 2) he didn't mention that 84 percent of white homicide victims are murdered by other white people? The first point is absurd, and the second point is irrelevant. All kinds of context and related facts could be brought to bear here, for and against Giuliani's position. But Giulani's fact here is accurate. If you want to argue it's not relevant or helpful to explaining the situation in Ferguson, that's purely argumentative. And it's exactly the kind of discussion that has no place in a 'fact checker' column.