I haven't written about the case of the NRA's favorite academic, John Lott, author of More Guns, Less Crime, who has a history of going online as "Mary Rosh" to defend his own work and who can't quite manage to produce any convincing evidence that a conveniently one-sided data set used in his book derives from an actual survey. I came to this story late, and if you haven't been following it I'd rather direct you to recent stories in Slate and The Washington Post, to Mark A. R. Kleiman's entertaining summary, and to Tim Lambert's nearly overwhelming bill of particulars. All I have to add is this: There's no question in my mind that conservatives who are now defending Lott would have treated him just the way they treated Michael Bellesiles if he'd done what he's done in the course of writing and defending a book like Bellesiles's now discredited Arming America, and they would have backed Bellesiles to the hilt if he'd done what he did while writing and defending a book like More Guns, Less Crime. Bellesiles has been stripped of his Bancroft Prize and his publisher has severed ties with him -- the "liberal" world, as the pro-gunners would see it, has cut Bellesiles loose. I can't help thinking that there is nothing Lott could do that would cause the pro-gun crowd to cut him loose -- except, of course, to publish conclusions that conflict with pro-gun orthodoxy.
UPDATE: Oops, I guess I was wrong -- right-wing pundit Michelle Malkin has now distances herself from Lott. (Thanks to Atrios for the link.) (By the way, Michelle, I've got five bucks here that says Lott didn't tell you the media brouhaha is "a bunch to do about nothing." Hey, I bet Richard Mellon Scaife will reimburse you if you spring for one of these.)