May 20, 2015

More Strange Details About That Apparently Fabricated Study

NOTE: Read this first.

Producer Jonathan Menjivar writes:

Ira just got off the phone with Dave Fleischer and Steve Deline at the Leadership Lab at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, and they told him some incredible details.

Dave Fleischer told us that he now believes data was being fabricated from the beginning. Fleischer says that the first time they sent out canvassers for LaCour’s study, when the canvassers came back, LaCour got on his laptop, supposedly looking at surveys these voters were filling out online in the wake of the canvassers’ visits. This is how Dave Fleischer described it:

FLEISCHER: Mike’s got his laptop set up with him gazing intently at it. And his group of about a half dozen research assistants clustered around him gazing at it raptly. The way you would at election results on a presidential election night. As though, here the results are slowly trickling in.

He would go back and forth from a couple different screens. Because you remember there were two questions he was asking. One was where people stood on same sex marriage. And the other was ... about their feelings toward gay and lesbian people. So he could toggle back and forth between these two, uh scattergrams, that gave some sense of the trend that was emerging.

IRA: These are like charts?

FLEICHER: Yes. It’s a graphic depiction. It really looked like, oh my god, the results are coming in. This is really what voters are thinking and saying anonymously after they’ve interacted with us.

Ira asked Dave Fleischer, “If the data isn’t real, if he isn’t really doing surveys, then what would you be looking at? Just things he had made up earlier?”

FLEISCHER: You know Ira, I do not know the answer to that question. But my suspicion is yes. We are looking at something that he had made up.

IRA: Wow. It’s so elaborate.

FLEISCHER: Well yes. It would have been a whole lot easier just to have measured our work.

Fleischer and Deline worked closely with LaCour for two years. Over a thousand volunteers canvassed for the apparently fraudulent studies. Deline says he couldn’t pretend to guess why LaCour did this.

DELINE: It’s unfathomable to me having extensively QC’d our data to send to him and made sure that we were dotting every i and crossing every t. You know, jumping through every hoop he asked of us. I can’t really explain it. I’m at a loss.