In November 2015, when most Republicans and political journalists, including this one, were discounting Donald Trump's ability to win the presidency, Trump tweeted an image of a thuggish-looking dark-skinned man holding a handgun over a set of 2015 statistics about race and crime.
The statistics, attributed to the nonexistent "Crime Statistics Bureau -- San Francisco" for a year that then wasn't even concluded, were transparently bogus. But two related data points were especially notable.
One said that 81 percent of white victims of homicide in the U.S. had been murdered by blacks. The companion stat indicated that white murderers accounted for only 16 percent of white homicides. In reality, FBI statistics for 2014, the most recent year available then, proved the inverse; whites were responsible for 82 percent of white homicides.
Trump's data was fake, but as a window into the means and ends of his propaganda, the false stats proved highly relevant. Fear of violent black crime was a constant theme of Trump's campaign.