Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 25, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

A PLEA TO THE NEW YORK TIMES....I note that the New York Times has published a piece by John Lott today and I just have to ask: what is Lott doing writing op-eds for them? The man is a fraud and the Times demeans itself by allowing him space on their pages.

This is not a matter of Lott being a conservative I disagree with. Plenty of conservatives write op-ed I disagree with. Nor does this have anything to do with complicated arguments over statistical models that require an advanced degree to understand. It's also not about the fact that he appears to have lied about conducting a survey that he doesn't seem to have actually conducted. Neither is it about his infamous career as "Mary Rosh" defending his own work under a pseudonym on the internet.

It's about the fact that he has posted, retracted, and then reposted fraudulent data and then covered it up. Details are here, and no mathematical background is needed to understand it.

If anyone from the New York Times editorial page is reading this or anyone from any other editorial page, for that matter do your credibility a favor. Stop publishing this guy. In a decent world, he would have been blackballed from polite editorial society long ago.

Kevin Drum 11:45 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (91)

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Comments

Dont. Hold. Your. Breath.

aimai

Posted by: aimai on January 25, 2006 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

Does the NY Times not understand that they put their publication's credibility on the line when they put someone on their op-ed page? What the hell are they thinking putting a known liar on their op-ed page?

Lie down with dogs and all that...ugh, what morons.

Posted by: theorajones on January 25, 2006 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

Can't be seen as being liberal now, Kevin. Having any concern for "reality" or actual "facts" -- or even having any self-respect -- is just a sign of your liberal bias!

Posted by: Gore/Obama '08 on January 25, 2006 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK


One of these days you will wake up in the real world and realize that you've spent the better part of the past few years being cranky and ornery for no reason.

Posted by: Hendrik van Voort on January 25, 2006 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, that's not the way the world really works anymore. We're an empire now, and when people like John Lott act, they create their own reality. And while you're studying that reality judiciously, as you will they'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. They're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what they do.

Posted by: Alek Hidell on January 25, 2006 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

Two words: Sulzberger and Keller.

Posted by: cosmo on January 25, 2006 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK


You say that there are "plenty of conservatives (who) write op-ed(s) that I disagree with".

Just wondering, are there any conservatives who write op-eds that you don't disagree with?

Liberals are so open-minded.

The filth and venom coming from lefty blogs shows why the Democrats will not win a major election again for at least three cycles, i.e. until 2020.

Posted by: Jack Fomta on January 25, 2006 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

In the past I have commented that writers like Ignatieff, in a true free market, would not be allowed to write for anything more important than a Pennysaver after their mendacious writing urging the US to invade Iraq. I recall that recently Mr. Drum accused liberal commenters of being like Maoists, who call for the re-education, in camps, of war fucks like Ignatieff. Now Mr. Drum calls for the boycotting of a particular writer by mainstream media. Hmmmmmm and hrumph!

Posted by: Hostile on January 25, 2006 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

The filth and venom coming from lefty blogs shows why the Democrats will not win a major election again for at least three cycles, i.e. until 2020.

Interesting theory. Filth and venom works for Republicans (or are you going to seriously claim that there is no "filth and venom" on righty blogs?), but not for Democrats?

Posted by: Alek Hidell on January 25, 2006 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

Does the NY Times not understand that they put their publication's credibility on the line when they put someone on their op-ed page?
Circulation down, revenue down, it looks like they've pretty much already lost their credibility.

What the hell are they thinking putting a known liar on their op-ed page?
They got Krugman, there's a website running a constant debunk of him.

After losing sales and revenues, most companies would make some changes. Why would you expect the Times to be any different? They are an evil corporation, after all.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 25, 2006 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

"Polite editorial society"?

You mean the one in which the L.A. Times continues to publich David Horowitz op-eds?

Posted by: penalcolony on January 25, 2006 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

Oops. "Publish," of course, not "publich."

Posted by: penalcolony on January 25, 2006 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, when you are in a position to give the owners of The New York Times huge tax cuts, perhaps they will listen to your pleas.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 25, 2006 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

conspiracy nut: They got Krugman, there's a website running a constant debunk of him.

Yes, there are a lot of right-wing websites running a constant stream of fake, phony, bogus, scripted, programmed bullshit just for the benefit of ignorant morons like you who like to gobble it and regurgitate it.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 25, 2006 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

"Just wondering, are there any conservatives who write op-eds that you don't disagree with?"

Umm, if he didn't disagree with them on some issues, then he'd be, umm, conservative. Don't understand this pluralism thing, do you?

Remember folks, according to the Right, being a liberal means you must demur from holding any opinions. Your sole role is as a punching bag for the right. Having the audacity to call the Right on their bullshit, why, that's not showing tolerance.

Posted by: Urinated State of America on January 25, 2006 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

what's wrong with pseudonyms on the web? Do you think that the Federalist Papers were really written by somebody named "Federalist"?

Why do you allow filthy and insulting language on your blog?

The NYT may have its problems, but I do not see how you have standing to criticize.

Posted by: contentious on January 25, 2006 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

The filth and venom coming from lefty blogs shows why the Democrats will not win a major election again for at least three cycles, i.e. until 2020.

Hear, hear. Finally someone has stepped forward and drawn a line in the sand. Filthy, venomous discourse such as "stop publishing this guy. In a decent world, he would have been blackballed from polite editorial society long ago" WILL NOT STAND.

Posted by: TLaemmle on January 25, 2006 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

what's wrong with pseudonyms on the web? Do you think that the Federalist Papers were really written by somebody named "Federalist"?

Strawman. Nothing wrong with pseudonyms. What is wrong is the use of sock puppets - using two pseudonyms and pretending one is not yours.

Why do you allow filthy and insulting language on your blog?

Why shouldn't he? Free country and all that, right? And, anyway, what does that have to do with this post?

The NYT may have its problems, but I do not see how you have standing to criticize.

To quote William Manchester: "Sequitur-wise, this was non." Why is Kevin in no position to criticize the NYT for giving John Lott credibility? Has he done something similar?

Posted by: Alek Hidell on January 25, 2006 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

from the article by Lott: REPUBLICAN senators have found a new friend during judicial confirmations: the American Bar Association. During the confirmation hearings of John G. Roberts Jr. and Samuel A. Alito Jr., the senators invoked A.B.A. evaluations to ward off Democratic attacks - including in yesterday's vote by the Senate Judiciary Committee sending Judge Alito's nomination to the full Senate. But this tactic is shortsighted: what works now may make it difficult for Republicans to credibly reject A.B.A. ratings when they really matter.

This is a point worth thinking about.

Posted by: contentious on January 25, 2006 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

If the standard proposed here is uniformly applied within NYT, Krugman would not be a columnist there, and they will have to hire a person like Jonah Goldberg who has been so wisely given the space on the Op-Ed page of the of the LA Times.

Posted by: tbrosz on January 25, 2006 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

Hendrik van Voort on January 25, 2006 at 11:55 AM


Other commentators have pointed out the depressive symptomotology of Kevin's onscreen writing. The only unifying theme is that everything is getting worse; with a subtheme that it's all the fault of the Republican conservatives.

Last year the US economy set 3 interesting records: most manufacturing ever by a single nation; most exported manufactures ever by a single nation; most infrastructure construction ever in the US. Kevin wrote only about the debt and the housing bubble. A balance of complexities is not his bag; here, it's all bad.

Posted by: contentious on January 25, 2006 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

Sort of like publishing the opinions of anti-global warming scientists...

Posted by: Mary Rosh on January 25, 2006 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

Also, another example of how alleged think tanks are really just propaganda fronts. American Enterprise Institute (AEI) has kept Lott the fraud on their rolls for years. They keep him funded generating a litany of garbage trying to deny the basic fact that the US probably has a lot more killing because we have a lot more guns.

Right along with that Dow 36,000 twit who Krugman demolished.

But the Post, Times and others just publish drivel from these propaganda outfits constantly. Their reporters quote Heritage, AEI, Cato and the like routinely in their news stories. As well as publishing opeds from them on their editorial pages.

It's one of the most insidious ways in which the right wing has learned to get their message out.

Posted by: Samuel Knight on January 25, 2006 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

Is that you, tbrosz?

Krugman threatens you because he is brilliant, articulate and effective.

Do you have evidence to the contrary? Can you present it in simple, easy-to-understand sentences that even us silly liberals would understand?

Posted by: obscure on January 25, 2006 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

Let's see. New York Times. Judith Miller. David Brooks. John Lott. What's not to like?

Posted by: ljr on January 25, 2006 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

"what's wrong with pseudonyms on the web?"

Nothing wrong with pseudonyms. It is, however, bad form to use a pseudonym to write someting praising yourself. Just ask my friend Aer!

Posted by: rea on January 25, 2006 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

That rea is right as usual--why such a brilliant commentor has yet to win a Koufax award is beyond me!

Posted by: aer on January 25, 2006 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

I'm actually somewhat at a loss to explain why Kevin's rather straightforward statement-- known academic frauds should not be treated as respected scholars on the NYT Op-Ed page-- is being met with such hostility by the right-wingers here, who are ranting about rather off-topic and tangential issues and acting as though Kevin called for the rape of conservative children.

But to address Kevin's befuddlement, I think the answer is that Mr. Lott travels in social circles in which he is considered to be "owed" Op-Ed space in major newspapers. That he has no academic or intellectual credibility when it comes to the specific matters that he addresses is of no importance. Jonah Goldberg is another example of this phenomenon, though Goldberg does not claim any pretense of having any scholarly qualifications regarding the subjects he pontificates about.

Posted by: Constantine on January 25, 2006 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

If anyone is interested Tim Lambert does an excellent job of taking Lott apart.

As an example of Lott's past, a while ago he appears to have made up some survey results. When someone called him on it he claims to have lost all the paper files and his computer erased his hard drive (and his dog ate what was left over). When pressed he said that he didn't do the research but used students to do the survey. Needless to say these students have not come forward.

http://timlambert.org/category/lott/

Posted by: Yelling in the fog on January 25, 2006 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

Last year the US economy set 3 interesting records: most manufacturing ever by a single nation; most exported manufactures ever by a single nation; most infrastructure construction ever in the US. Kevin wrote only about the debt and the housing bubble.

Sir,

There is not much remarkable about the 'records' you cite given the fact that economic growth is driven by population growth.

The same 'records' will be 'broken' next year.

If you want to know something useful you will look for rates of change in growth patterns.

Posted by: obscure on January 25, 2006 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

This year also breaks the record for average latte prices. As did last year. And the year before. And the year before that. And before that. And before that. ...

Posted by: adam on January 25, 2006 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

I'm actually somewhat at a loss to explain why Kevin's rather straightforward statement-- known academic frauds should not be treated as respected scholars on the NYT Op-Ed page-- is being met with such hostility by the right-wingers here

It's what they do. Attack and smear liberals who are "open minded enough" to accept wingnut drivel. They don't know how else to act.

Posted by: tomeck on January 25, 2006 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

Jackoff Fomta: The filth and venom coming from lefty blogs shows why the Democrats will not win a major election again for at least three cycles, i.e. until 2020.

The so-called filth and venom from the Left can't even begin to compete with the actual filth and venom coming from the Right.

The Right relies on such filth and venom to win elections and has been very effective using such.

The Right crying about the Left doing exactly what the Right has done for the past 50 years is crocodile tears and intentionally dishonest advice.

Posted by: Advocate for God on January 25, 2006 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

Alek: To quote William Manchester: "Sequitur-wise, this was non."

Had somehow missed this, but plan to incorporate into conversation as often as possible.

Posted by: shortstop on January 25, 2006 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

I'm actually somewhat at a loss to explain why Kevin's rather straightforward statement-- known academic frauds should not be treated as respected scholars on the NYT Op-Ed page-- is being met with such hostility by the right-wingers here

Because they're all more or less 'unknown' intellectual frauds, and they're protecting their own.

Posted by: V ladi G on January 25, 2006 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

Because they're all more or less 'unknown' intellectual frauds, and they're protecting their own.

Well, yeah. And then there's the sock puppet thing.

Posted by: shortstop on January 25, 2006 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

They got Krugman, there's a website running a constant debunk of him.

you mean that fraud Luskin?

Posted by: cleek on January 25, 2006 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

I have defended the writing of Ayn Rand on this site because I think she accurately described the world we live in, although I do not accept her ideology of the exceptional man as society's lynch pin. I think Rand's character Ellsworth Toohey is an excellent analogy of the op-ed writers Mr. Drum criticizes and who the papers of record love to publish. Constantine's comment about the social circle being a determinate of who is published was also addressed by Rand.

Posted by: Hostile on January 25, 2006 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

I've stopped reading the news and op-ed sections of the NYT. The editors and publisher have spent the last decade completely destroying the paper's reputation. I don't believe it will ever be trusted again.

Posted by: Jeff II on January 25, 2006 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

"The filth and venom coming from lefty blogs shows why the Democrats will not win a major election again for at least three cycles, i.e. until 2020."

Wait... let's check his math... 2008... plus... four... plus four... plus four... cripes!!! He's right!!! Three cycles WOULD be 2020!!!

Heck, he must be on to something.

Posted by: Donkey_Punch on January 25, 2006 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

Lott is the modern conservative's dream author - arrogant, misinformed, lies to cover his lack of willingness to do hard research, and never willing to admit his mistakes. Sorta like just about every other conservative nowadays....

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on January 25, 2006 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

If your goal is to challenge the rich and powerful, then the truth and people's sense of fairness are valuable weapons. If your goal is to support money and power, the truth is often inconvenient. Adding to that the fact that much of the right-wing's support comes from folks who consider science and reason a threat to their faith, it's not very surprising that truth is often not a very highly valued commodity on the right.

So if the NYT wants editorial balance in their op-eds, maybe their options are limited....

Posted by: bucky20816 on January 25, 2006 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

Wow -- I can't believe Lott has a single defender. Holy hannah, if the man tells you the sky is blue, you need to open your curtains and check. He lies, he cherrypicks, he quite literally creates "statistical" results out of thin air that are, in the parlance, highly sensitive to model specification (i.e., artifacts).

Whatever your partisan leanings, if you believe in things like scientific inquiry and verifiable truth at all, Lott must be anathema to you.

"Making shit up" is not now and has never been a conservative ideal.

For shame.

Posted by: wcw on January 25, 2006 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

I'd like to make a respectful request to the person posting "fake tbrosz" posts: Please stop doing it.

I don't mind it, but there are too many people here who, despite repeated calls to look a the e-mail and other things, are still unable to grasp the concept, and there's a lot of stuff on this board now under my name that too many people still think I wrote. A google search is going to turn up a lot of things that are going to go on my Permanent Record that I never said.

I use a shortened version of my own name here, and would like to be cut a little slack.

If I can make a suggestion, go the "Mad Magazine" route and invent a name similar to mine that you can use to satirize my posts. This will get the point across, not confuse the chronically thick, and still let you post your satires, which I have no objection against.

Maybe you can collect suggestions from readers for a good satirical name. Can I throw "Tbozo" into the ring?

Posted by: tbrosz on January 25, 2006 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

obscure on January 25, 2006 at 12:52 PM


Actually, there are a lot of people who believe both that manufacturing is declining in the US, and that manufacturing export is declining in the US. In what is sometimes called the "service economy", it would be possible for GDP to grow while both manufacturing and infrastructure constructions were both declining: especially given the American propensity to borrow in order to purchase imported goods.

Therefore, it is worth remarking and remembering that manufacturing, export of manufactures, and infrastructure construction were all growing.

As to the claim that population growth drives economic growth, there are more counterexamples than examples: Zimbabwe and S. Africa over the last few years, China from 1945-1975, The US from 1980-1982, and 2000-2001 (and especially 1929-1939), Iran since 1979, Argentina under Peron and Brazil during much of the Post WWII era. Indeed, economic growth is pretty much independent of population growth. Japan has had in alternation economic growth, decay, and stagnation with a stable population.

I repeat, a balance of complexities is not what this blog is about. This blog is about highlighting the bad and imperfect, and blaming all imperfections on conservative Republicans.

Posted by: contentious on January 25, 2006 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe he told the Times he was Trent's brother?

Posted by: Jim Strain on January 25, 2006 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

I'm as liberal as they come, yet both George Will and Pat Buchanan have written a number of editorials that I agree with (though I disagree with both men the majority of the time).

Posted by: Joe Buck on January 25, 2006 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz,

I think your free-market religion, in this case, would tell you to publish your own blog.

Or, to quote a bumper-sticker I just happened to pass by over lunch, why don't you "bite my ass and leave!" if you don't like it.

Posted by: Tripp on January 25, 2006 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

Just goes to show there is nothing a Conservative can say or do that can get them ejected from a media platform.

Armstrong Williams: Took bribes. Still employed.

Ann Coulter: Advocates genocide. Still employed.

Michelle Malkin: Advocates concentration camps. Still employed.

Pat Robertson: A vertiable fountain of bad behavior. Still employed.

John Lott: Fabricates data. Still employed.

Chris Matthews: Equates Michael Moore to Osama Bin Laden. Still employed.

Bill O'Reilly: Serial sexual harasser and liar. Still employed.

Rush Limbaugh: Drug addict. Still employed.

George Will: Stole Presidential debate briefing books, lied about it, then lied about his conflict of interest. Still employed.

Robert Novak: Complicity in national-security related felony. Fired by CNN, IMMEDIATELY hired by Fox.

And on the Left:

Phil Donahue: Highest rated show on MSNBC. Cancelled because of insufficient cheerleading for Iraq war.

Michael Moore: Highest-grossing documentary filmmaker ever. Has trouble finding distributors for work and cannot get TV deal.

Posted by: Alderaan on January 25, 2006 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

I'd like to make a respectful request to the person posting "fake tbrosz" posts: Please stop doing it.
Oh come on, that is what passes for wit and intelligence around here. Commenting under someone else's name qualifies as the height of logical reasoning.

You're ruining their most effective technique, you know.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 25, 2006 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

I'm as liberal as they come, yet both George Will and Pat Buchanan have written a number of editorials that I agree with (though I disagree with both men the majority of the time).

tbrosz: we should be asking Kevin to create a registration system, so that once you have the username "tbrosz", no one can masquerade as you, because you have the password.

Posted by: Joe Buck on January 25, 2006 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

Translated tbrosz:

"I'll encourage the satires to continue because I like to think of myself as a good sport instead of a narcissistic fool who gets visibly excited any time people talk about me. But I want them to go under different names because I'm unable to grasp that that nothing Google turns up under 'tbrosz' could be more embarrassing than the stuff I actually wrote myself."

Posted by: shortstop on January 25, 2006 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

Someone is talking about tbroz instead of paying attention to ME! MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! look at MEEEEEEEE!

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 25, 2006 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

See, case in point. The ultimate ability of the moonbat realized. Makes you proud, doesn't it?

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 25, 2006 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

Same question to you Kevin, why do you link to known sexist bigot extremist Amanda Marcotte, to whom anyone that disagree with her (especially women), are tools of the "patriarchy", and who she then cusses out? And why do you link to Ann Althouse, a yoostabe hypocrite who is so intellectually dishonest that one day she implores her readers to vote for her for conservative blog diva and a few days later tells everyone that she is a moderate?

Everytime you do this you demean yourself and your readers and demonstrate the soft bigotry of low expectations.

Posted by: jerry on January 25, 2006 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

I have never understood how these big newspapers allow any op/ed's that have not been vetted for truth claims. In this age, it would be easy. I don't mean vet on ideology, or anything else but the actual truth claims in an op/ed. Are they valid? Sound?

If I were running the NYTimes, I would require footnotes to support all truth claims in op/eds (not opinions and analysis). I would not publish them (the footnotes), but I would want them in order to feel assured that I'm not publishing false information.

Posted by: Jimm on January 25, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, you should send this in an email to their ombudsman. Then if there's no reply you can report the nonresponse on your blog. If there is a reply you can discuss whether it's satisfactory.

Send it to public@nytimes.com

Posted by: b on January 25, 2006 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

On Lott's claiming not to be able to find the students who worked on his survey: I got a degree from the Univ. of Chicago over 20 years ago, have never given them a penny, and they still track me down and ask me for money several times a year. Lott's a liar and fraud.

Posted by: SteveH on January 25, 2006 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

allow any op/ed's that have not been vetted for truth claims
Heh, I'd be happy if Krugman could stay consistent with himself, we'll work on truthful later.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 25, 2006 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

Equal opportunity vetting. I'm not worried about Krugman passing muster.

Posted by: Jimm on January 25, 2006 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

Folks, let me come out in tbrosz' corner here.

I sympathize with him. I don't often agree with him, but he is one our faithful posters. He's not a troll like conspiracy nut. He can write coherent sentences. He doesn't get angry and start calling names.

Furthermore, the bizarro-tbrosz isn't even very good at imitating him. He usually ends up sounding more like "Al."

The impersonation shtick is occasionally amusing, if it's a one-off, but when it continues it's just irritating. I remember once seeing "my" name on a post I didn't make, and I felt the compulsion to quickly post something to indicate it wasn't me. I'm on tbrosz' side here.

Posted by: Alek Hidell on January 25, 2006 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

Also, Lott believes women should not have the vote.

Posted by: rabbit on January 25, 2006 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

I would like to make an announcement: Y'all are free to comment as me all you like. It helps mess up the comment section, which is the ultimate goal of us trolls anyway. Plus, if you're any good at it, it cuts down on my work load.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 25, 2006 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

Alek,

He also made fun of Edward's dead kid to score political points and then lied about it and tried to squirm his way out of it instead of apologizing like a man and taking his medicine.

That is when I lost not only respect but all consideration for him. He is a mental case and I wish he would go away.

Posted by: Tripp on January 25, 2006 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

To the "guns save lives" crowd, John Lott is, and will remain, a hero. Believe me, they still quote him and cite him as much as possible. The fact that he has been completely discredited doesn't faze them in the least. Why should it? Of what importance is science? Facts? Research? He writes things that they agree with. Nothing else matters. End of story.

I'm a little dismayed at some of the posters here who are coming to his defense, though. And that he is given any kind of credence whatsoever by the NYC is shocking.

Posted by: LAS on January 25, 2006 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

The fact that he has been completely discredited doesn't faze them in the least. Why should it? Of what importance is science? Facts? Research? He writes things that they agree with. Nothing else matters. End of story.

Op-Ed pages around the country are playing to their audience, here. People read Op-Eds to reinforce their own worldviews, now to make themselves better informed. As a result, we have a veritable army of columnists whose talents lie not in knowledge of any particular field nor in having any area of expertise, but merely the ability to write polemics that will reinforce the worldview of the readers.

And no, this isn't an equal-opportunity phenomenon. It was right-wingers, acting in the name of market-efficiency, who realized that you don't actually need to know anything to write a column that attracts a following, and they cultivated their writers accordingly (once again, Jonah Goldberg being the poster-boy for this).

Posted by: Constantine on January 25, 2006 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

You all should teach us right-wingers a lesson and totally shut down the NYTimes. That would teach us.

Posted by: Frank J. on January 25, 2006 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

Damn. Go out to have lunch and return to discover the trolls have hijacked the thread and the website.

I've been a journalist and columnist for nearly 40 years now.

Kevin is absolutely right. John Lott is a propagandist and publishing anything by him or most of these "thnk tank" shills is a discredit to the newspaper and an insult to their readers.

A columnist -- the definition came from Walter Lippman who invented the modern column -- is supposed to "explain government" to readers. The fundamental requirement is to be financially and professionbally disinterested in what you are writing about and search for the truth to the extend we faillible human being can do that imperfect task.

"Columns" wsritten by think tankers are just the opposite. They tellpeople how to think and imply they ate stupid if they don't agree. They try to find information that justifies the preconcieved notions of the people who contribute to the "think tank."

They are propagandists and public relations apparatchks who drape themselves in the trappings of academia to give theri preconcieved conclusions a patina of acdemic legitimacy.

The worse of the bunch -- like Lott -- actually invent data to "prove" their conclusions.

The fellow from the Cato Institute taking money from Jack A. to write a favorable column is just the tip of the iceburg.

This has nothing to do with whether Lott's views are liberal or conservative. The man is simply intellectually dishonest -- a trained parrot who is paid to play.

Dozens of these guys are printed every day and read by the guillible.

Posted by: Russell Aboard M/V Sunshine on January 25, 2006 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

Alderaan:

Great post and one that illustrates the immense double standard that exists between the way right-wing journalists (and I use that term quite loosely here) and left-wing journalists are treated and called to account for their mistakes or inaccuracies. I would add Joseph Farah, Sean Hannity and anyone who writes for NewsMax to your list of righties who play fast and loose with the truth.

Stephen Kriz

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on January 25, 2006 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with cosmo about the two men most currently responsible for the destruction of what once was one of the World's greatest tabloids has succeeded in making it only the later and not the former.

Posted by: parrot on January 25, 2006 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

He also made fun of Edward's dead kid to score political points and then lied about it and tried to squirm his way out of it instead of apologizing like a man and taking his medicine.

Wait - I thought it was Charlie who did that.

Are you sure it was tbrosz? To be fair, it doesn't sound characteristic.

Posted by: Alek Hidell on January 25, 2006 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

I stopped reading the NYT Op-Eds when they started charging for them. I'm not going to pay anyone to find out their opinions. If they want to tell me, I'll listen. I'll even take a bit of effort to visit their website/blog. But pay, I will not.

Tho I think shutting down the whole newspaper would be net loss for those of us who like information, shutting down their Op-Ed page would be fine with me.

Posted by: Cal Gal on January 25, 2006 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz:

"Permanent Record"?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 25, 2006 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

Cal Gal:

They lost me on TimesDefect. I was infuriated and blasted the paper.

I did get a response from MoDo and we exchanged a few emails. I told her that by offering the guy on the street pseudo-intimacy for coin, TimesSelect has pimped her out.

She agreed with me.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 25, 2006 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK

Here's a newsflash- in the real world, John Lott was blackballed from polite editorial society. A society the NYT does not belong to.

Posted by: serial catowner on January 25, 2006 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

Bob:

"Permanent Record"?

The internet is forever. A lot of people find out the hard way. If I was smart I'd be using a fake name, but something about that has always rubbed me the wrong way.

I have no idea who the heck "Edward" is.

Posted by: tbrosz on January 25, 2006 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with the real tbrosz. Let's stop spoofing his name and go with the "tbozo" thing instead.

Posted by: tbrosz on January 25, 2006 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK

The most obvious indictment of the 'spoofing' of tbrosz and Al on every thread is that it simply isn't funny.

This is someone who just watches for a new thread to pop up, and then they plug in a lameass joke that doesn't add to the discussion.

Oh wait...perfectly describes a freeper troll, doesn't it?

I get e-mails from people asking me if I'm spoofing and I've never done tbrosz, c-nut or some of the others. I did Norman for a while, but it got old, and I did a couple of other things to drive Don Pissypants crazy.

Other than that, no frickin' way am I using my real name. For obvious reasons...

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 25, 2006 at 10:32 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz, I think someone is confusing you with the loathsome Charlie, who made some pretty grotesque comments about the death of John Edwards's son.

Posted by: Calton Bolick on January 25, 2006 at 10:57 PM | PERMALINK

Constantine, the difference is that Lott doesn't represent himself as just another Novak or Ivens giving us his opinion or views based on the admittedly different ways they may see the same facts. This bozo claims to be a scientest. Atleast, that ought to be a difference.

Posted by: LAS on January 25, 2006 at 10:57 PM | PERMALINK

Registration is the way to go. The name stealing is out of hand. To go back on topic, sort of, it's the sort of thing you'd expect out of someone like John Lott.

Posted by: mwg on January 25, 2006 at 11:07 PM | PERMALINK

And for "Conspiracy Nut" to compare Krugman to Donald "The Stupidest Man Alive" Luskin -- well, Princeton professor versus Yale dropout and failed investment manager, doesn't pass the giggle test.

Posted by: Calton Bolick on January 25, 2006 at 11:07 PM | PERMALINK

Back before the end of the Cold War (Nov. 1,1989)
the NYT actually printed one of my columns criticizing FEMA, so I always feel a little like an ingrate because I am so appalled at the open way they war on every red state value and hero.

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on January 26, 2006 at 12:07 AM | PERMALINK

Why blackball? Hacks reveal themselves for what they are. Futhermore Kevin, blackballing is beneath your dignity.

Let's talk about Times columnists...

David Brooks is a brilliant mind stuck in a namby-pamby netherland between the seductive and powerfull conservative movement he admires and the liberal core that is his true nature. He should be working at a think tank with other keen minds and fine researchers. His columns get lost in the namby-pamby netherworld. He's fun to watch on NewsHour.

Dowd can shread her target into more pieces than an IED. Yes the snarkiness sometimes gets anoying like a whiny teenager but she eviserates her prey with greater efficiency than any living columnist.

Nodbody gets it right like Rich. Too bad he's off writing books.

Krugman's almost always a good read. He's another good thinker.

Et tu?

Posted by: Neil Sagan on January 26, 2006 at 2:43 AM | PERMALINK

Registration and the tbroz spoofers:

Registration would indeed solve the problem. The question is, does Kevin want to be bothered setting it up?

I personally hope he doesn't -- not that I have any vested interest in spoofage. Personally, I'd be happy if Kevin did more housecleaning around here than he does, for instance removing the Chinese character spam. Some of those posts can be like 40 pages and they can wreck a thread.

But there's the problem right there. As soon as people see Kevin being responsive on a moderation issue, they'll begin to pester him to delete spam. And somebody will then doubtless chime in that there's too much cursing and flaming, and can we have a decorum policy.

And frankly, I think this place is better with a completely lassiez-faire comment policy, given the anality I've seen exhibited in more "family-oriented" venues. So Kevin can ignore away on this stuff as far as I'm concerned. Spam is good exercise for the scrolling finger.

Here's why I'm not all that sympathic to tbrosz (sorry, Tom) on being spoofed:

First, tbrosz chose to use his real name. In the good Libertarian spirit of taking personal responsibility, he should live with his mistake.

Secondly (and more importantly), tbrosz isn't being spoofed by the trolls. He's being spoofed by the regulars. Although some of my buddies here have disagreed with me on this in email, I've seen enough posts from Tom at this point to realize that the guy isn't a nutcase or a troll. He's an ... engineer. With a typical set of ideas about markets and government regulation you'd expect from a tech geek (apologies to engineers alex and Constantine, who aren't typically "Libertarian" on that stuff.) But he seems like a decent guy who doesn't snark or flame too much. He's certainly not a gleeful provocateur like, say, conspiracy nut.

But tbrosz posts his center-right opinions on a progressive blog, so he's swimming against the tide day after day. While he may not be trolling per se, he's deliberately put himself in the position of having his views mocked, because to us they represent the odious kind of conventional wisdom that progressives feel is a huge part of America's political malaise.

So Tom should learn to take his medicine.

I say this mainly, though, because I don't believe that he can do anything about it. "Asking nicely" isn't going to work, even if his parodists aren't mean-spirited. They'll always be others. And I'd hate to see Tom become irritated because he "asked nicely" and he finds his handle still being spoofed.

As a good Libertarian, he should realize that these sorts of things are inevitable in an unregulated marketplace of ideas.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 26, 2006 at 4:30 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin - you bigot! How dare you use the term 'blackball'!

Posted by: McA on January 26, 2006 at 5:08 AM | PERMALINK

there's a lot of stuff on this board now under my name that too many people still think I wrote.

What of it, tbrosz, when you show no shame at all for the things you did write?

Posted by: Gregory on January 26, 2006 at 8:59 AM | PERMALINK

....and I see shortstop had, of course, already fielded that one.

I'm going to once again respectfully disagree with Alek's characterization of ol' tbrosz. tbrosz is certainly intelligent and articulate, but I have do dispute any notion that he's a courteous debater. In my book, the straw men and other dishonest arguments tbrosz uses -- contantly, no matter how often he's called on his bullshit tactics -- are just another form of discourtesy.

Then, of course, there was the time he accused those commetors here who are opposed to Bush's disastrous adventure in Iraq of rooting for America to fail -- then, when challenged to name a signle poster who could honestly be described as such, simply snorted that it was "obvious." tbrosz has yet to show the slightest embarrassment or remorse for this insult.

It's true that tbrosz has shown that he can debate honestly; as I've said, the vexing thing about him is that he so often chooses not to.

All that said, I should have made clear that -- having been the subject of imitators myself -- I agree that his parodists should not post under his handle. Which, of course, rules "tbozo" out as well -- after all, we want the imitators not to be confused with the genuine article.

Posted by: Gregory on January 26, 2006 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

He also made fun of Edward's dead kid to score political points and then lied about it and tried to squirm his way out of it instead of apologizing like a man and taking his medicine.

Actually, Tripp, that was Charlie/Cheney; tbrosz isn't that bad.

Posted by: Gregory on January 26, 2006 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK

To contentious:

"most exported manufactures ever by a single nation"
I remembered it was wrong, but had no datas at hand. I have checked, results are:
Germany (84 M people) exports more goods than the US. by far.

USA are second, but China is catching up.

Posted by: Le passant on January 26, 2006 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

The sad thing is many economists and most published work falls under method 2. Almost everyone tweaks the model after they put they data in and if a challenge destroys an empirical many researchers will present new specifications that salvage the result. This should NOT be labelled lying. Rather it is the scientific method in practice.

Posted by: DB on January 26, 2006 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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