Bill Press Gets Tricked by 'Lovenstein IQ' Hoax

Former CNN and MSNBC commentator Bill Press has denounced bloggers as people "with no credentials, no sources, no rules, no editors and no accountability."

On his official site, BillPressShow.com, Bill Press offers a podcast and commentary. He would have been well to ask for "credentials" and "sources" when he reported on the "Lovenstein Institute of Scranton, Pennsylvania" and their IQ study that the last six Republican presidents have had an average IQ of 115.5, while the last six Democrats had an average IQ of 156. Press proudly noted that it was with "President Clinton leading the class at 182."

As for George W. Bush:

You guessed it again: George W. Bush, with his rock bottom IQ of 91: seven points lower than his Daddy.

So now we know. Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Social Security, Medicare, Stem Cells, FEMA, the deficit, immigration…

The reason George Bush has screwed up in so many areas the last six years.

He’s not just incompetent. He’s just plain dumb – the dumbest president in the last 50 years.

The only problem with this stunning "new development" is that it is a joke, a five-year-old one. According to Snopes.com:
No, this isn't a real news report, nor does it describe a real study. There isn't a "Lovenstein Institute" in Scranton, Pennsylvania (or anywhere else in the USA), nor do any of the people quoted in the story exist, because this is just another spoof that was taken too seriously.

The article quoted above began circulating on the Internet during the summer of 2001. In furtherance of the hoax, later that year pranksters thought to register www.lovenstein.org and erecting a web site around it in an attempt to fool people into thinking there really was such an institute.

The piece is simply a political jibe, made obvious by its ranking all the Democratic presidents of the last several decades as having high (even exceptionally high) IQs — note that Bill Clinton's IQ is listed as being exactly twice George W. Bush's — while ranking all the Republican presidents from the same time frame as average to moderate in intelligence, with the current president and his father assigned below-average figures placing them at the very bottom of the list. (President Nixon is the sole exception, presumably because his reputation is still so tarnished that not even a high IQ measurement can yet redeem him in the court of public opinion.)

The staff at BillPressShow.com was horrified to learn that this was actually a running joke. A poster on FreeRepublic.com noted it and told others to email the site, at which time it was removed. It can still be accessed with Google Cache.

Here is the entire text of Bill Press's scathing indictment of low IQed Republicans:

In six years in the White House, George W. Bush has screwed up so many things, you have to wonder: Is he unlucky or incompetent?

Well, now we know.

Thanks to the Lovenstein Institute of Scranton, Pennsylvania, which just released a study of the IQ of twelve American presidents, over the last 50 years. And the results are – well, not surprising.

The average IQ of six Republican presidents – Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush 41, and Bush 43 – was 115.5. President Nixon topped the list, at 155.

The average IQ of six Democratic presidents – Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, and Clinton – was 156. With President Clinton leading the class at 182.

The smartest president of the last 50 years?

You guessed it: Bill Clinton, with his 182 IQ.

The least intelligent president of the last 50 years?

You guessed it again: George W. Bush, with his rock bottom IQ of 91: seven points lower than his Daddy.

So now we know. Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Social Security, Medicare, Stem Cells, FEMA, the deficit, immigration…

The reason George Bush has screwed up in so many areas the last six years.

He’s not just incompetent. He’s just plain dumb – the dumbest president in the last 50 years. And, probably, the dumbest president ever!

That’s my parting shot for today. I’m Bill Press.

UPDATE 07/29. Press admits his error.