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NRA’s favorite ‘academic’ John Lott exposed as a data-fudging, sock-puppeting fraud

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Pro-gun author and columnist John Lott is frequently held up as an intellectual luminary on the right, but ten years ago, his habit of falsifying data and leaning on intellectually dubious studies to prop up his arguments had left his career “in tatters.”

Think Progress reported Friday that Lott has staged a career comeback by speaking out against gun regulation in the wake of the massacre at Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School. His contention that more guns make societies safer has made him a favorite of the National Rifle Association and other pro-gun agencies.

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However, as Devin Hughes and Evan DeFelippis wrote, before he became the darling of the pro-gun right, “Not only was Lott’s assertion that more guns leads to more safety formally repudiated by a National Research Council panel, but he had also been caught pushing studies with severe statistical errors on numerous occasions. An investigation uncovered that he had almost certainly fabricated an entire survey on defensive gun use. And a blogger revealed that Mary Rosh, an online commentator claiming to be a former student of Lott’s who would frequently post about how amazing he was, was in fact John Lott himself. He was all but excommunicated from academia.”

Lott founded the Crime Prevention Research Center (CRRC), a think tank designed to push his debunked theories on a new audience. Broadcast media — eager to find someone who seemed authoritative who preach the pro-gun gospel in the wake of Sandy Hook — took Lott at face value, believing his falsified claims and giving him columns and guest spots with “the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, LA Times, PolitifactCBS,  CNN, Fox News, and many others.”

Hughes and DeFilippis did their own independent verification process on Lott’s claims, combing back over his career and checking his work. They found a “startling array of new ethical violations, ranging from the profoundly bizarre to the outright fraudulent.”

They presented the five worst, which included falsely claiming that a Lott essay was published in a “peer-reviewed journal,” lying about the number of mass shootings in the U.S. versus Europe, making deliberate misreadings of the center’s own analyses, lying about the number of deaths in “gun-free zones,” and, again, creating an echo chamber by posing as fans and supporters online.

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The last claim is perhaps the most entertaining. In spite of having been thoroughly shamed for his creation of former student and adoring fan Mary Rosh, Lott engaged again in attempting to sing his own praises by writing under an assumed identity.

In August of 2014, FoxNews.com published the “harrowing story about teenager Taylor Woolrich’s desperate attempts to escape and protect herself from a persistent stalker who was ruining her life.” The story went viral and became a cudgel for open carry activists who believe that people need guns to feel safe.

The problem is that Woolrich — a real person, unlike Mary Rosh — told BuzzFeed that she didn’t write the piece. Lott seized on to her story and exploited it, writing the piece from her perspective while plagiarizing one of his Daily Caller editorials almost word-for-word.

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“I was trying to be brave and just speak up,” Woolrich later said. “I didn’t realize I was being turned into an NRA puppet.”


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White House ripped for ‘ridiculously misogynistic stereotype’ in attack on Speaker Pelosi

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The White House was harshly criticized for an attack on Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) launched by White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham.

Grisham was already under fire for claiming President Donald Trump had been "measured" in a meeting with Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) when she lashed out at the female speaker.

https://twitter.com/PressSec/status/1184598320330788864

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Internet laughs off press secretary’s claims of presidential calm: ‘How often has Trump struck you as ‘measured’

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President Donald Trump isn't exactly known for being calm or measured, but that's what his White House is claiming he was during a meeting with Democratic and Republican leaders.

"[email protected] was measured & decisive today. @SpeakerPelosi walking out was baffling but not surprising w NO intention of participating in a mtg on nat’l security. Dem “leadership” chose to storm out & whine to cameras, everyone else stayed to work on behalf of our country," tweeted Stephanie Grisham.

It prompted CNN's Chris Cillizza to inquire when Trump ever struck someone as "measured."

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Republicans lack the ‘moxie’ to defend America’s Kurdish allies in Syria: Ex-RNC Chair

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Republicans will criticize President Donald Trump on foreign policy, but lack the nerve to do anything meaningful to protect America's Kurdish allies in northern Syria, the former chair of the Republican Party explained on MSNBC on Wednesday.

MSNBC's Chuck Todd interviewed Steele about what it would take for Republicans to serve as a check on the president.

"I think the only way to make him change his mind is -- he’s got to think they might walk," Todd said.

"Well, that would require a level of moxie that we haven’t seen from the leadership," Steele replied.

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