Heritage Foundation Between a Rock And a Hard Place


By Victor Landa, NewsTaco

If you’re looking for the Heritage Foundation today, look behind the rock next to the hard place. You’ll find the Heritage between the two, acting like it doesn’t have a care in the world. You get the sense of it by the silence.

The Heritage Foundation has been through a  difficult week, to put it delicately. First the foundation put out a report that claimed the net bill for immigration reform would total more than $6 billion over 50 years. That report was criticized by the expected Heritage opponents (namely people and groups on the left of center) and also by folks on it’s own side of the political court. The study’s conclusion was built on flimsy stacks that stretched 50 years into the future. No reputable organization or researcher would toss a lot that far ahead – anything could happen in five decades to sway even the best researched prophesy.

But if that wasn’t bad enough, that same week the reputation of one of the study’s co-authors quickly became the center of a very public storm. Jason Richwine, a Harvard educated PhD, helped crunch the Heritage study numbers. He also wrote a controversial dissertation while at Harvard in which he claimed that immigrants had inherently low IQ’s and that their offspring and subsequent generations would also have low IQ’s. All this is recent but very widely known history. The latest news was that the heat generated from the IQ dissertation was too much for Dr. Richwine, so he resigned his position at Heritage.

My concern is with the silence coming from the Heritage Foundation. You’d get the sense that it’s a jittery silence – or that it should be.

Any PR consultant worth his or her reputation would advise Heritage to do exactly what it’s doing – defend the study and ignore Richwine’s dissertation as having nothing to do with the foundation or the immigration study. That’s the best of a number of bad options. The problem is that, like it or not, Heritage tied it’s wagon to the dissertation when it hired Richwine. And whether Richwine quit Heritage or not doesn’t separate the foundation from his work – his name is all over the study already. And by default, Richwine is tied to the people who hired him because in the end they didn’t fire him.

Again, a PR tightrope. Do you fire Richwine and by so doing admit faulty research? Do you stand by the research and by default stand by his prior writing? So Richwine quit, Heritage looked the other way, then crawled to that place between the rock and the hard place.

Does anyone want to take a wild guess as to how Heritage’s next research will be received?

[Image courtesy The Heritage Foundation]

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