Hoax Shows Just How Susceptible Liberal Journals Are to Fake News

Turns out, Adolf Hitler was enough of a feminist to get published by Affilia, a peer-reviewed journal of women and social work. Three academics were able to successfully submit a journal article to the publication in which the second half of the article was a cut and paste from “Mein Kampf.”

The academics in question have been working undercover to test just how susceptible academia is to partisan politics. Math doctorate James Lindsay, Portland State Assistant Professor Peter Boghossian, and English literate/history scholar Helen Pluckrose have submitted 20 fake journal articles, often with absurd text, to academic journals since August of 2017. Seven have been accepted and four have been published.

One journal article appeared in Gender, Place & Culture, in which the author claimed to have observed dogs at local dog parks in Portland. After a year of observation, the author concluded that dog parks perpetuate “canine rape culture,” although the author admitted that their own “anthropocentric frame” made it difficult to judge dogs. The author further urged “awareness into the different ways dogs are treated on the basis of their gender and queering behaviors, and the chronic and perennial rape emergency dog parks pose to female dogs.”

In another article, the authors proposed a teaching method based on “experiential reparations.” Under the experiment, “privileged students” (i.e. white, male, wealthy, etc.) would be “oppressed.” This might include not allowing them to speak in class, interrupting them if they do speak, and even making them wear chains. One might think the peer reviewers would reject such methods. Just the opposite occurred: one reviewer said, “I like this project very much.” Ultimately the journal in question, Hypatia, rejected the article but said it would accept it based on revisions.

Interestingly, the three perpetrators of the hoax articles are all left-leaning academicians. However, all three have taken issue with what they allege is grievance-focused research. Increasingly, it seems that academia is becoming less a tool used for the pursuit of knowledge, but instead an avenue to pursue social justice regardless of facts.

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Brian Brinker

Brian Brinker is a political consultant and has an M.A in Global Affairs from American University.

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