Drawing Lott

Chris Mooney’s story in the on-line version of Mother Jones [*] combines a clear account of the various Lott brouhahas with some original reporting of the constantly changing stories Lott told Mooney about the now-famous Stanford Law Review article. (Interview transcripts here)

Mooney draws the natural comparison with Bellesiles, and notes that, while Bellesisles got fired, Lott still has his job at AEI, and that while Bellesiles virtually disappeared from view, Lott keeps getting his op-eds published.

What seems to me even more striking, though Mooney doesn’t mention it, is the difference in the way the two are treated in the mainstream press: while no news article about Bellisles could fail to mention the controversy about Arming America, Lott — who made up an on-line persona who praised him to the skies and claimed on his behalf academic appointments the real John Lott never received, and who still claims to have done a survey with 2000 respondents which reached an utterly implausible finding and of which no evidentiary trace can be found — still gets treated as merely one side in a normal two-academics-disagreeing dispute. [*]

Update Tim Lambert has remamed his weblog Deltoid. It is largely devoted to the Lott affair. Lambert is anti-Lott, but he understands the matter in more depth and detail than anyone else. Whether anyone could understand the matter in the depth and detail that Lambert does and remain pro-Lott remains an open question.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

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