It seems hardly a week goes by without media outlets leaping at a study that purports to explain the real reason Donald Trump won the 2016 election. Such studies never focus on Trump’s strengths or Hillary Clinton’s weakness, but coincidentally often end up indicting the cultural forces that mainstream journalists worry about the most. Two such studies caught my eye in the past week because they both seem to fall for the same fallacy.
“‘I don’t want this life’: 10 Palestinians shot dead by Israeli army on Gaza border,” read a Washington Post headline from Friday. That headline—later changed with updated figures to a more neutral: “Fifteen Gazans dead after Israeli army, Palestinians clash at border fence, officials say”—used part of a quote from 22-year-old Yahya Abu Assar, a Palestinian living in the Gaza Strip who added, “I want to be shot.”