On November 16, Kevin Drum, who writes the weblog Political Animal for Washington Monthly magazine, issued the following "plea to Michael Kinsley," editorial and opinion editor of the Los Angeles Times:
OK, I asked this once before, but the LA Times editorial page is under new management so I'm going to ask again: what is John 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 has nothing 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 LA 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.
Media Matters for America agrees. As MMFA has documented, Lott has lied about the findings of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights on voter disenfranchisement in Florida during the 2000 presidential election. Lott may be best known for an incident that Drum mentions, in which he created a web persona -- a purported former graduate student named Mary Rosh -- to defend himself against charges of using phony statistics to promote his staunch pro-gun rights views.