Vox founder and editor-at-large Ezra Klein capped off his year by spreading misinformation in a viral tweet on Tuesday.
Klein tweeted out a nine-month-old Washington Post article alleging that counties that hosted Trump rallies saw massive spikes in hate crimes compared to counties that didn’t host Trump rallies.
Klein’s tweet had garnered more than 7,000 retweets and more than 14,000 likes by Wednesday afternoon.
But what Klein didn’t tell his 2.5 million followers was that the article was based on a study that was thoroughly debunked months ago by researchers at Harvard University.
“We found that counties that had hosted a 2016 Trump campaign rally saw a 226 percent increase in reported hate crimes over comparable counties that did not host such a rally.” https://t.co/zy0093lPoH
— Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) December 31, 2019
“The study is wrong, and yet journalists ran with it anyway,” Harvard researchers Matthew Lilley and Brian Wheaton wrote in a September article published in Reason magazine.
When Lilley and Wheaton tried to replicate the original study, they found that “adding a simple statistical control for county population to the original analysis causes the estimated effect of Trump rallies on reported hate incidents to become statistically indistinguishable from zero.”
The criteria relied upon for the first study actually demonstrated that rallies for former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton “contribute to an even greater increase in hate incidents than Trump rallies,” they noted.
“Given how little scrutiny was required to reveal the flaws in the thesis that Trump rallies cause hate incidents, one cannot help but wonder whether its viral status was aided by journalists predisposed to believe its message,” the Harvard researchers added.
Klein has yet to delete his viral-but-misleading tweet, even after others pointed out that he was promoting a debunked study.
— Patrick Ruffini (@PatrickRuffini) January 1, 2020
— Vince Coglianese (@VinceCoglianese) December 31, 2019
Vox didn’t return a request for comment on whether Klein would correct the misinformation.
Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience.
For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
A version of this article appeared on The Daily Caller News Foundation website.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.