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Friday, March 18, 2005
Prof Deborah Lipstadt received
an ecstatic welcome when she spoke
in Feb 2005 at Brandeis University, and signed six
million copies of her latest book (equally true).
C-Span's Plan to
Cover Talk on Holocaust Is Criticized
By Tamar Lewin
MORE than 200
at colleges nationwide sent
a petition to C-Span
yesterday to protest its plan to accompany its
coverage of a lecture by Deborah E.
Lipstadt, a professor of Holocaust studies at
Emory University, with a speech by David
Irving, who has argued that Hitler was
not fully responsible for the mass murder of
"Falsifiers of history cannot 'balance'
histories," said the petition, delivered to
Connie Doebele, the executive producer at
C-Span who planned the coverage. "Falsehoods cannot
'balance' the truth."
Mr. Irving, a British writer, sued
Professor Lipstadt for libel for calling him a
Holocaust denier, but
the British Royal High Court of Justice dismissed
the lawsuit on April 11, 2000, concluding that
Irving was anti-Semitic and racist and that he
persistently and deliberately misrepresented and
manipulated historical evidence.
Professor Lipstadt has been promoting her new
book, an account of the case titled "History on
Trial: My Day in Court With David Irving," which
Ecco published last month.
C-Span wanted to feature the book on its weekend
program "Book TV" and asked Professor Lipstadt if
it could record a speech she was making on March 16
at Harvard Hillel, a Jewish organization at Harvard
But when Professor Lipstadt learned that the
cable network planned to include a lecture by Mr.
Irving along with her remarks, she refused to allow
C-Span to tape the event.
"I called the producer
at C-Span and told her that this was a man who
denier, and this idea of
using both of us made no sense to me," Professor
She and many of her supporters believe that
including such a figure in an account of her views
would be as wrongheaded as accompanying a story on
slavery in the United States with remarks from
someone who said that slavery never happened.
"I told C-Span that I
assumed that if they weren't going to tape my
lecture, they also wouldn't use David Irving,
but they said
were committed to having him
on," Professor Lipstadt
said yesterday. "This is a man who's said that
Holocaust survivors are all liars, and that more
people died in Senator Kennedy's car at
Chappaquiddick than in the gas chambers."
C-Span did tape the speech Mr. Irving made last
weekend at the Landmark Diner in Atlanta. But
Peggy Keegan, a spokeswoman for the network,
said in an interview yesterday that its plans were
now up in the air.
In a follow-up e-mail message, Ms. Keegan said:
" 'Book TV' was interested in Deborah Lipstadt's
new book about her British libel trial. Our
interest in covering David Irving was to hear the
plaintiff's story of the trial. Since Professor
Lipstadt has closed her book discussions to our
cameras, we are still discussing how to cover this
book and we don't have an immediate timetable."
The plans for the C-Span coverage were first
reported Tuesday in The Washington Post, in a
column by Richard Cohen, who said that
C-Span's "cock-eyed version of fairness" forced
Professor Lipstadt to choose between promoting her
book and giving Mr. Irving both an audience and a
status equal to her own.
That same day, the David S. Wyman Institute for
Holocaust Studies began circulating the petition in
support of Professor Lipstadt, and in less than 48
hours, it had gathered more than 200
"If C-Span broadcasts a lecture by David Irving,
it will provide publicity and legitimacy to
Holocaust-denial, which is nothing more than a mask
for anti-Jewish bigotry," the petition said.
Although the petition was sent to C-Span
yesterday, many more academics are still signing
on, so another set of signatures may go to the
network next week, said Dr. Rafael Medoff,
director of the Wyman institute.
"I've never before heard of a television network
offering free time to a
Holocaust denier," Dr.
Medoff said, "so it was surprising and it may be
unprecedented. I think once C-Span realizes the
depth of public concern and the strong opposition
of the academic community, they will
Index to the
media scandal surrounding Prof Lipstadt's
attempt to silence C-Span and the history