PBS’ On the Media runs a fascinating — and very candid — piece on an Emory University law and ethics professor who was found to have created at least one Internet sock puppet to promote himself and his agenda.
Michael J. Broyde is a senior fellow at Emory’s Center for the Study of Law Religion, as well as an influential “modern orthodox” rabbi and the founder over Young Israel in Toco Hills.
In April, the Jewish Channel broke the story that a character calling himself Rabbi Hershel Goldwasser had lauded Broyde frequently for more than 20 years via online comments and even in letters to scholarly journals. It turns out that, Goldwasser’s comments were coming from the same IP address that Broyde uses.
Eventually, Broyde apologized — sort of. “I deeply regret these actions,” he was quoted by Emory PR officials as saying, “and I apologize that some of my rabbinic work has come to reflect adversely on Emory University.” But Broyde denied the findings in a second investigative report by the Jewish Channel that he’d created another sock puppet. That character went so far as to defend controversial scholarship by Broyde, as well as to invent quotes that Broyde then referred to in his own scholarship.
In early February, Broyde resigned from the prominent Rabbinical Council of America. But Emory appears to be dealing with him more softly. The university hasn’t disciplined him, and Steven I. Weiss, who broke the Jewish Channel stories, reported in December:
The short summary of Emory University’s investigation of Michael Broyde would be that regarding everything Broyde has admitted to, the investigation acknowledges as fact, while regarding everything Broyde did not admit to, the investigation “did not find evidence to substantiate.”
On the Media, which airs Sunday afternoons on WABE 90.1 FM, interviews Weiss here. You can listen to the segment here.