November 21, 2015

POLITICAL SCIENCE: More problems with a famous campus sexual assault study.

In 2002, Michael Finkel was fired from the New York Times after the newspaper discovered that his feature story was not about a single victim of the African slave trade, but actually a fake character made up of several men he had interviewed in the region.

It appears that same tactic has been used by researcher David Lisak, whose theory about serial rapists on college campuses has heavily influenced campus sexual assault policies and who was featured prominently in the film, “The Hunting Ground.”

Lisak gives a presentation about sexual assault that includes a video “reenactment of an interview conducted by Dr. David Lisak … as part of a study of men who had raped but were never reported or prosecuted for their crimes.” The video shows Lisak interviewing “Frank,” an actor purported to be reading a transcript from an interview Lisak actually conducted as part of his research.

“Rather, he is an aggregation of several interviews from Lisak’s dissertation research, which raises the level of concern by an order of magnitude,” wrote Reason’s Linda LeFauve. “Material cut-and-pasted is material at risk of serving an agenda. Had Lisak described the video as intentionally designed to make a point, it might — might — even be an understandable agenda were it not for the two problems already noted: It is based on material decades out of date, and it is edited to make a point about serial predators not backed by research.”

It’s as if these people start out with a narrative, then just make stuff up to support it or something.

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