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Jonah Lehrer's speech Tuesday at a Knight Foundation seminar "turned out to be significantly more about himself than I had expected,” Knight President Alberto Ibargüen told The Washington Post's Erik Wemple. But the speech, Ibargüen said, contained themes of “trust and arrogance and groupthink and the appeal of inconvenient ideas that are still relevant" to the assembled community-group leaders ostensibly there to "explore the topic of community information needs."
The speech was live-streamed over the Internet, though, winning it an audience keen to gawk at the former New Yorker and Wired writer's first post-plagiarism-scandal public appearance. That outside-inside dynamic was cast in stark relief on an onstage screen displaying tweets about the speech. "Said tweets were critical," J.K. Trotter understates in an Atlantic Wire post, collecting a few. A headline on a post by BuzzFeed's John Herrman called the spectacle "The Final Humiliation Of Jonah Lehrer." And one on Chris Gayomali's post about the speech in The Week called Lehrer's appearance a "bizarre digital flogging."