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PostWatch: An irregular correction to the Washington Post

Brought to you by Christopher Rake


Saturday, March 22, 2003
2:03 PM

John Lott Update: The author of More Guns, Less Crime manages to acquire some space in the Free-For-All section:
Eight academics at eight different universities have informed me that they have written to your paper in response to two recent attacks on me and my research. But your paper has chosen not to publish the letters, not even one from an academic who wanted to correct a statement attributed to him that was the opposite of what he had written.

This is in the Dumbfounded Dept.--I don't understand why the Post wouldn't allow someone to correct a blatant error--but we've seen it before.
A Feb. 11 Federal Page article questioned the existence of a 1997 survey that was used to "support claims in [my] provocative book." My discussion of the survey actually involved only one number in one sentence, and even then I qualified my statement by beginning that sentence: "If a national survey that I conducted is correct." In any case, despite my past willingness to talk to your reporters, no one at your paper asked me about my survey. The bottom line is that I lost data for most of my various research projects, as well as the files for my book "More Guns, Less Crime," in a computer crash in July 1997. With the help of other scholars, primarily David Mustard at the University of Georgia, the massive data sets using county and state level crime data were reconstructed so the data could be given to academics who requested it. This enabled researchers at dozens of universities to re-estimate every single regression in my book...

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