At the Missoulian: Missoulian’s one-sided attack on credibility

Jun 9, 2021 | Featured, op-ed

Dr. John Lott has a new piece in the Missoulian responding to a news article attack on him.

The Missoulian’s initial report on there being thousands more recorded votes than envelopes for the ballots from Missoula County’s November all-mail-in election was largely a response to my investigative article at Real Clear Investigations (RCI) (Jordan Hansen, “GOP-backed group claims’ irregularities’ on Missoula County 2020 ballots,” March 30). But despite having the story for over five weeks, the Missoulian was somehow unable to find the time to ask me a single question about any of its attacks leveled against me. The Missoulian merely repeated already addressed false claims from leftist websites.

Whatever one thinks of the count that found 4,592 more votes than envelopes for Missoula County’s all-mail-in election and the problems with missing dates, unchecked signatures, and claims of the same signatures on many envelopes, that story deserved coverage. Indeed, a news article in the Missoulian eventually conceded Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen seems concerned about the irregularities (Sam Wilson, “Montana secretary of state letter appears to reference allegations of voting irregularities,” April 21).

My role was just that of a reporter. The Missoulian never claimed I misreported what the review headed up by local lawyer Quentin Rhoades said they had found. Instead, the Missoulian spent half its story citing left-wing attacks meant to discredit me on issues that had nothing to do with the accuracy of my reporting.

Regarding these professional and personal attacks, the Missoulian never asked me one question about these claims. Indeed, the Missoulian never contacted anyone who counted the envelopes. 

The Missoulian attacked one of my dozens of academic papers on voting and vote fraud, somehow linking it to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, but the paper never asked me for a response. You would never know I have served as a statistical expert on vote fraud for USA Today, the U.S. Civil Rights Commission and others, that I have already publicly addressed this attack, nor I am the one who provided my critics with the data. The Missoulian interviewed two academics who wrote a critique of one of my three vote fraud tests in the 2020 presidential election. Even if their discussion were accurate, no one has yet written critiques of the other two tests examining provisional ballots in Pennsylvania and voter turnout in swing states.

The Missoulian attacked me for a hard disk crash loss of data in 1997 for my book, “More Guns, Less Crime.” First, let me note the book has gone through three editions, with extensive refereeing each time, and the University of Chicago Press wouldn’t have continued publishing the updated editions if they believed the Missoulian’s claims. The Missoulian fails even to mention that all the data were replaced, and the results replicated. Nor does the Missoulian note any of the academics who verified the events. I have long ago provided more detailed responses to left-wing Think Progress and Mother Jones attacks.

The Missoulian’s second attack regarding posts in an internet chatroom is the second time the paper has published this lie. I dealt with it in my congressional testimony under oath, and as I explained there, the quote attributed to me was not mine.

There are multiple other digs, such as writing Lott “has a house in Missoula” rather than saying I live in Missoula, and linking my research to the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot.

Evidence of vote fraud or unexplained irregularities in election administration ought to be news. Instead of stooping to personal attacks that have nothing to do with the accuracy of a report, the Missoulian should have asked me questions about the attacks before publication, as should be standard practice at any newspaper.

John R. Lott, Jr., “Missoulian’s one-sided attack on credibility,” Missoulian, June 7, 2021.
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