Slaying Song

July 14, 2017
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(This article was originally published at Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science, and syndicated at StatsBlogs.)

I came across this article by Joseph Bernstein, “Why Is A Top Harvard Law Professor Sharing Anti-Trump Conspiracy Theories?”:

On April 22, Tribe shared a story from a website called the Palmer Report — a site that has been criticized for spreading hyperbole and false claims — entitled “Report: Trump gave $10 million in Russian money to Jason Chaffetz when he leaked FBI letter,” a reference to the notorious pre-election letter sent by former FBI director James Comey to members of Congress that many have blamed for Hillary Clinton’s November loss.

The “report” the article points to is a since-deleted tweet by a Twitter user named LM Garner, who describes herself in her Twitter biography as “Just a VERY angry citizen on Twitter. Opinions are my own. Sometimes prone to crazy assertions. Not a fan of this nepotistic kleptocracy.” Garner, who has 257 followers, has tweeted more than 25,000 times from her protected account.

“I don’t know whether this is true,” Tribe’s tweet reads, “But key details have been corroborated and none, to my knowledge, have been refuted. If true, it’s huge.”

Reached by email, Tribe said that he was aware of the Palmer Report’s “generally liberal slant” and “that some people regard a number of its stories as unreliable.” Still, he added, “When I share any story on Twitter, typically with accompanying content of my own that says something like ‘If X is true, then Y,’ I do so because a particular story seems to be potentially interesting, not with the implication that I’ve independently checked its accuracy or that I vouch for everything it asserts.”

OK, then. But the “Palmer Report” thing ran a bell—didn’t someone send me something from there once? I did a quick search and found this Slate article, “Stop Saying the Election Was Rigged,” regarding “the rampant sharing of two postelection articles from Bill Palmer.”

Kinda sad to see a high-paid law professor fall for this sort of thing.

Still, though, whenever I see the name Laurence Tribe I will think of this letter. Bluntly put, indeed. If you’ll forgive my reference to bowling.

The post Slaying Song appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.



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