Reynolds "misremembers"

Mac Diva is trying to figure out why Lott does the things he does. Atrios explains why he cares about Lott. Brad Delong says that I have "a very strong case". Matt Yglesias has some thoughtful comments on appropriate behaviour in this case. ArchPundit has one two posts.

On Monday Glenn Reynolds wrote:

Kopel sent an update to the NRO piece some time ago stressing Levitt's denial of the charge. Although Lambert doesn't mention this, I imagine that he's aware of it. I don't know if it has appeared on their site yet or not.

It turns out that "some time ago" was Reynolds' special way of saying "yesterday". Nor, of course, would he have any reason to believe that I would be aware of this update. Kopel says he thinks Reynolds may have "misremembered".

Anyway, here's Kopel's update:

Shortly after this article was published, Steve Levitt wrote to Glenn:
"I don't understand your National Review article in which I am described as 'rabidly anti-gun.'

"No one who knows me would describe me that way. I love to shoot guns and would own them if my wife would let me. I recently published an op-ed piece in Chicago Sun-Times entitled 'Pools more dangerous than guns' (July 28, 2001) that could only be construed as pro-guns. I have never written anything even remotely anti-gun. I think your sources must have me confused with someone else."

Levitt's Sun-Times article argues that the risks of gun accidents are grossly exaggerated by the media compared to other accident risks. I wrote back to Levitt something which I should have also asked to be posted on this article, so I'm belatedly posting it now:

"As Glenn's instapundit site details, we have checked with our original source. Nevertheless, since I try (not always successfully) to shed light rather than heat on the gun issue, I think that in retrospect the adverb 'rabidly' shouldn't have been used. So I promise to avoid it in the future. I'm glad to know about your swimming pools piece, and I enjoyed reading it. I did check your publications page on the web before I submitted the article, but the pool piece wasn't there---understandably, since your page just cites journal articles.

"And, as the article said, whatever your views on guns, there's no dispute about your scholarly abilities. My forthcoming article 'Lawyers, Guns, and Burglars: Why Mass Tort Litigation Fails to Account for Positive Externalities and the Network Effects of Controversial Products'" 43 Arizona Law Review (no 2, 2001) cites and discusses your excellent LoJack article.

Kopel's correction is inadequate. He doesn't withdraw the charge at all, he just allows that it was too inflammatory. Here's what he should have said:

In my article I quoted an anonymous claim that Steve Levitt was "rabidly antigun". I have investigated the matter and I find that the charge is false. I withdraw it and apologize to Levitt for the unwarranted attack on his character and to my readers for inadvertently misleading them. I also apologize for not not making this correction in a timely fashion.
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