So. Cornell stands behind Wansink, and Ohio State stands behind Croce. George Mason University bestows honors on Weggy. Penn State trustee disses “so-called victims.” Local religious leaders aggressively defend child abusers in their communities. And we all remember how long it took for Duke University to close the door on Dr. Anil Potti.
OK, I understand all these situations. It’s the sunk cost fallacy: you’ve invested a lot of your reputation in somebody; you don’t want to admit that, all this time, they’ve been using you.
Still, it makes me sad.
These organizations—Cornell, Ohio State, etc.—are victims as much as perpetrators. Wansink, Croce, etc., couldn’t have done it on their own: in their quest to illegitimately extract millions of corporate and government dollars, they made use of their prestigious university affiliations. A press release from a “Cornell professor” sounds so much more credible than a press release from some fast-talking guy with a P.O. box.
Cornell, Ohio State, etc., they’ve been played, and they still don’t realize it.
Remember, a key part of the long con is misdirection: make the mark think you’re his friend.