In the light of pieces like Trevor Cook’s in the Fin recently, I was beginning to think blogs were making a difference for the better in the mainstream media. But the fact that the Oz can run an op-ed piece on gun control by discredited ex-academic John Lott suggest that a lot more remains to be done.
Lott has been exposed in every possible way by bloggers (of all political persuasions and none) as a liar, a fabricator, and even as an Internet cross-dresser (for the gory details visit the indefatigable Tim Lambert). Yet not only is he still sitting in a cosy billet at the American Enterprise Institute, but newspapers are apparently still willing to publish him. Clearly bloggers have a lot more work to do. Ken Parish takes on the job of demolishing Lott’s latest piece of nonsense, as does Tim Lambert.
fn1. Having said all this, it’s necessary to confront the ad hominem issue. A logical argument doesn’t become invalid because it is put forward by a liar. But an Op-ed piece about an issue like gun control can’t consist exclusively of abstract logical argument. The arguments have to be given some factual basis. And any piece written by Lott should come with a warning, “Do not accept any factual assertion in this article”.