John Stossel

Stossel: Academic Hoax

Journals applaud seven outrageously fake papers.

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Three academics conducted what they call a "grievance studies" experiment. They wrote fake papers on ridiculous subjects and submitted them to prominent academic journals in fields that study gender, race, and sexuality.

They did this to "expose a political corruption that has taken hold of the universities," say the hoaxers in a video which documented the process.

John Stossel interviewed James Lindsay and Peter Boghossian who, along with Helen Pluckrose, sent so-called research papers to 20 journals.

They were surprised when seven papers were accepted. One claimed that "dog humping incidents at dog parks" can be taken as "evidence of rape culture." It was honored as "excellent scholarship."

Another paper rewrote a section of Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf as intersectional feminism.

Stossel assumed that the journals would apologize for publishing nonsense and question the quality of their scholarship. But instead they criticized the the hoaxers, complaining that they "engaged in flawed and unethical research."

Of course, that was the point of the hoax.

Boghossian is unapologetic, telling Stossel the hoax shows "scholarship in these disciplines is utterly corrupted … they have placed an agenda before the truth."

When Stossel suggests, "maybe you are just conservative hacks looking to defend your white privilege." Lindsay replied "I've never voted for a Republican in my life." Boghossian added, "Nor have I."

Stossel says what upsets him is that after the hoax "no university said 'we're not gonna use these journals' and no editor publicly said, 'we have to raise our standards.'"

Instead, Portland State University began disciplinary procedures against Boghossian.

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The views expressed in this video are solely those of John Stossel; his independent production company, Stossel Productions; and the people he interviews. The claims and opinions set forth in the video and accompanying text are not necessarily those of Reason.