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Dead-trees, bloggers and Lotts

February 21st, 2003

Bloggers have done most of the spadework in exposing the curious misrepresentations of John Lott/Mary Rosh. But the dead-tree media have their strengths, notably including a reach that puts even Instapundit to shame. As I pointed out a few weeks ago, stories on Lott have been appearing in major US newspapers with circulations in the millions, recently including Chicago, where he supposedly conducted his survey. By now the story ought to have reached the attention of dozens of respondents to the putative survey, not to mention the student volunteers who supposedly conducted it. Yet the only person to come forward as a participant has been a pro-gun activist with a record of sharp practice to match that of Mary Rosh.

I think we can conclude with a high degree of confidence that no survey was ever undertaken. This raises the question of whether Lott still meets the ethical standards of the American Enterprise Institute, where he is a visiting scholar. A few years ago, he would undoubtedly have been shown the door. But the AEI has gone a long way downhill, and Lott is probably safe for the moment.

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