by Ben Crystal
Politicians pursue power. Whether in a free society or one ruled by Democrats, the pursuit of authority defines nearly everyone who seeks to wield it. That, of course, creates a permanent political class made up almost entirely of people who can’t be trusted. Therefore, scientists and the media are both supposed to pursue truth, both for truth’s own sake and as a counter to the control-at-all-costs politicians. Knowledge is power, after all. But when politicians, academics and media are all united in the common pursuit of power, then no one is left to pursue truth.
So you’ll pardon me if I’m not stunned to learn that another “groundbreaking study” has turned out to be as valid as an Obamacare promise. First published in Science magazine, the work by Columbia University professor Donald P. Green, Ph.D., and graduate student Michael LaCour documented a sociological experiment in which canvassers attempted to talk people into abandoning support for California’s Proposition 8 barring legal recognition of same-sex marriage and pro-life policies. Green’s and LaCour’s findings revealed that canvassers who have a personal stake in legalizing marriage equality and/or abortion could alter the subject’s attitude toward those topics.
The media repeated the revelations at the tops of their lungs. Here was academic proof that just a few minutes a day needling Great Aunt Esther could swing her into the leftward column. Finally, science provided a way to crush those stodgy old homophobes once and for all. One teensy little problem: Green’s and LaCour’s “groundbreaking study” was bogus. Despite hitting the media last December with all the fanfare of a Led Zeppelin reunion tour, their “work” was as short on facts as it was long on hype. As of Wednesday morning, it had been formally retracted due to academic malfeasance on the part of co-author LaCour.
I’ll leave the moral issues surrounding marriage equality for another column, mostly because they’re tangential to the growing crisis of American academics and journalists willingly subjugating themselves to politicians. To be honest, the idea that someone would conduct a study on the effects of repeatedly needling Great Aunt Esther is nearly as silly as concocting such a study. You shouldn’t need a months-long academic experiment — real or otherwise — to tell you to stop bothering Great Aunt Esther. But the saga of Green and LaCour isn’t new. It’s hardly the first time professional academics and professional journalists huddled together with professional politicians to produce amateurish results.
We shouldn’t be surprised at the disintegration of yet another liberal pseudo-scientific-turned-pseudo-journalism snipe hunt. The left has been using academia, journalism and often both in concert since Karl Marx was just another spoiled rich kid backpacking his way through Europe on his old man’s nickel. We can put the Green/LaCour fabrication up on the shelf with “Hands up, don’t shoot,” “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor,” “What difference does it make?” and whatever they’re calling “global warming” this year.
Sadly, we also shouldn’t be surprised the MSM that baked up this piping-hot serving of crow now refuse to eat it. Exposure of the Green/LaCour fraud made hardly a ripple compared to the tsunami the release caused back in December. Left-leaning commentators have already cued up the “taking liberties with the facts doesn’t undo the Greater Truth” narrative. Green himself told one reporter: “Maybe the thing to convey … would be something to the effect that just because the data don’t exist to demonstrate the effectiveness of this method of changing minds doesn’t mean the hypothesis is false.”
Actually, “Dr.” Green, the only relevant “thing to convey” is that yet another liberal invented yet another lie to push yet another leftist ideal.
It’s disturbingly familiar refrain. Other than writing what I expect will be a check with more zeroes than a “Ready for Hillary” coffee klatsch, Rolling Stone suffered no lasting effects from its spectacular self-immolation over the University of Virginia rape hoax. George Stephanopoulos remains employed at ABC “News” despite his personal, financial and not-just-a-little-bit-creepy entanglements with the Clinton family and their money trough — er, “Global Foundation.” Perpetually embattled NBC, including its idiot stepchild MSNBC, has been caught fudging the facts so frequently that the disgrace of talking hairdo Brian Williams didn’t really hurt its cache, mostly because it had none left to damage.
Scientists faked data to advance politics; and the media not only failed to spot the fraud, they gleefully advanced it. In that pipeline, there’s no room for the truth. Consequently, there’s no room for us. When academics and journalists all willingly kneel before politicians, we the people lose big.
Think I’m overstating the case? Perhaps. But the same day Green and LaCour were forced to retract a study published with all the hype of a campaign kickoff, President Obama told the graduating class of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy that “denying” or “refusing to deal with” so-called “climate change” constitutes a “dereliction of duty.”