Glenn Reynolds writes

Here’s some helpful advice for CBS: “A source lies to you, and you find it out, you burn him. Period.”

Damn straight. So, Professor Reynolds, who was the anonymous source who lied to you, falsely claiming that Steve Levitt was “rabidly antigun”?


  1. #1 Davey
    September 16, 2004

    That link just goes back here.

  2. #2 Tim Lambert
    September 17, 2004

    Look again. It goes to all my posts on the Levitt affair. It just happens that this post is the latest one.

  3. #3 Tom
    September 17, 2004

    I don’t get the comparison. In the CBS case, the source lied. In the Levitt case, the source appears to be correct. Despite all the studies and evidence to the contrary, Levitt ONLY cites one side of the debate in the paper you reference on crime in the 1990s and claims that if anything concealed handguns increased crime. Levitt gave a balanced literature review? That seems to me to be selectively citing just the evidence you want to get an anti-gun conclusion. That seems like an agenda to me. As a minor issue, on top of all that, the one paper that he bases his entire conclusion does not appear very convincing.

  4. #4 Tim Lambert
    September 17, 2004

    Tom, your description of Levitt’s paper bears little relation to what is actually in it. First, Levitt cites Lott and his critics. He does not just cite one side. Second, he does not claim that concealed handguns increase crime, but that “there appears to be little basis for believing that concealed weapons laws have had an appreciable impact on crime.” This is not the sort of thing someone who was “rabidly antigun” would say. Third, he does not base his conclusion on concealed carry on just one paper — he cites four papers. And just because you assert that a paper is unconvincing does not make it so.

  5. #5 David Tiley
    September 18, 2004

    I am not completely convinced about the forgery either, although I am sure the right has managed to divert attention completely from the real issue of Bush’s AWOL in 1972.

    Noticeable too that the other “respectable” media like ABCnews (US) and New York Times and WaPo are going at CBS, even though the latter two were part of the hysteria that made Iraq possible. For which neither has shouldered full responsibility.

    I remain puzzled that we can be so sure about the font type when all anyone has to go on is wretched 1970’s Xerox copies that have then been digitised.

    I do think the superscript is a red herring – the thing is clearly there in a document which Bush released as part of his record. Smaller typeface and all, but not raised above the line. All that takes is a touch with the right hand to drop the page a half line.

    And if its a fake, why is it so bad? I mean, really terribly bad. When it would have been easy to find an old typewriter and just bang the things out. The forger had taken the trouble to assemble a lot of unit information and internal procedures.

    Jeez.. I am sucked into this now. But it is so evilly fascinating. There is one explanation that goes a long way to creating truly hellish confusion – all these people were part time soldiers. What if the documents had been typed and stored off site, in Killian’s day job? And the secretary was pretty good on Army names but not perfect?

    It can go on and on. One plausible explanation for the whole thing is that it was a republican sting which has been very successful.

    Hitler’s diaries anyone?

  6. #6 Tim Lambert
    September 19, 2004

    I agree that the superscript is a red herring, as is all the talk about kerning, but the font and spacing are not what a typewriter could produce. This story is the best account I have seen so far.

    The puzzle is why make make fakes that are both really bad (using a computer instead of a typewriter) and really good (the White House did not dispute the accuracy of the content)?

    My guess is that someone who had seen the originals tried to recreate what they lloked like using a computer, and someone else misunderstood what they were given and decided that they must be actual copies.

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