Post a Comment On: History On Trial

"CSpan story in New York Times and Atlanta Constitution"

24 Comments - Show Original Post Collapse comments

LEI RETTIG said...

Remain steadfast in your response to CSpan! It is encouraging to see that you have widespread support amongst the professirial community.

7:19 AM

Stuart J. Boyar said...

For whatever its worth, I wrote this to C-SPAN.
One must wonder what the powers that be at C-SPAN are thinking these days.
Your claim that a Holocaust Denier balances out hearing from author Deborah Lipstadt is outrageous.
You have attempted to, to use your term, balance the truth with lies from a liar !! By doing so, C-SPAN becomes a liar, and therefore loses all its credibility.
I think the American people expect and deserve much more from C-SPAN.
This isn't about "spin", its about historical fact. Shame on you, and that's the best thing I can
say about your decision to give this liar any kind of forum to spread lies. Do you not understand that by doing so, despite what the courts have said, putting him on the air gives him a false claim to legitimacy ??? Wake up C-SPAN !! This is unacceptable.
Williamsville, New York.
Deborah, you are a HERO to millions. Thank you.

7:35 AM

Anonymous said...

===Your claim that a Holocaust Denier balances out hearing from author Deborah Lipstadt is outrageous.===

It depends on the topic. If the topic is the Holocaust, then yes. If the topic is that specific trial, then it is fair to invite Irving to get his perspective on the trial in which he was one of the main participants. This distinction is legitimate and is in no way a "hair-splitting".

7:53 AM

David H Lippman said...

I support Deborah 150 percent. Since I failed math in school, I can say that. I weighed on Holocaust denial on my web column last October. I re-read what I wrote, and I think it's still appropriate, so here's the link:

7:58 AM

Anonymous said...

I think it might be advantageous for people to see exactly what a "holocaust denier" (I refuse to capitalize) looks and sounds like in order to understand how this total denial of the evidence can be manipulated. I doubt if I could watch more than 10 seconds but I might come away knowing more about recognizing such human depravity. If one never sees a "false claim to legitimacy" how can you recogize one that is perhaps not so clear cut? Spoon feeding "truth" is exactly what frightens me most. Thank you.

8:28 AM

david gehrig said...

Here is the email I sent:


I'm writing just to express my confusion at your apparent insistence that you will only allow a presentation by Prof. Lipstadt, author of _History on Trial_, to appear on your program on condition that you give some form of equal time to the Nazi-apologist David Irving. Have I heard incorrectly?

Some indication of the sort of person Irving is -- if the devastating judgment against him in the Irving/Lipstadt libel trial in 2000 weren't enough to make that clear -- can be gleaned from noting that another appearance on his current tour was organized by the National Alliance, a notorious white supremacist organization. (See for details.)

C-SPAN provides an opportunity for many positions to be heard that wouldn't otherwise make their way into the media, and its emphasis on alternative voices is something the major media would do well to emulate. But there is an enormous difference between fair play and allowing C-SPAN resources to be exploited -- in the name of fair play -- to spread hate speech.

Holocaust denial is an inherently antisemitic ideology. Irving's value to the movement is that unlike the rest of them he is capable -- if one doesn't scrutinize him too deeply or with sufficient knowledge of Holocaust history -- of passing for a normal, reasonable guy who just happens to believe some provocative things about his field of expertise, WWII. Behind the carefully crafted and innocent-sounding questions, however, lies a great deal of rhetorical duplicity and, frankly, raw bigotry.

Irving has been found to be not merely a "controversial writer" -- although he euphemizes himself as such -- but a pseudoscholar who twists the historical record to serve his antisemitic worldview. You would be doing the antisemites of this country a considerable favor by treating Irving as if he were a C-SPAN-worthy scholar. You would be doing the rest of us considerably less of a favor. Please reconsider.


9:32 AM

Anonymous said...

Let him speak. If he is a fool, then you look good. If he looks good then .... oh I see your point.

10:47 AM

Laurie said...

Sunshine is the best disinfectant. Let David Irving speak.

11:00 AM

david gehrig said...

Ah. Maybe C-SPAN could have a special hour a week dedicated to demonstrated antisemites, naziboys, cross-burners, and such. They could call it the White Power Hour. And they could decide, on a rotating basis, which ethnicity they're going to verbally attack for that week. That would be completely "fair," wouldn't it?

Irving's revisionist history of the trial is already available on his website. Let him post there whatever glop he wants to. Let him say that Justice Gray is secretly a Jew (actually, I think he may have already hinted that), let him say that Prof Evans is from Mars. C-SPAN is under no moral obligation to help him spread his lies.


11:23 AM

Anonymous said...

Remember, the issue is not whether Irving gets to speak. Nobody has suggested that he not be given that right. Rather, the question is whether CSPAN should elevate his speech on a giant, free, nationwide platform. Viewed thusly, I see no reason for CSPAN's desired "balance".

12:01 PM

David H Lippman said...

Would C-SPAN bring in a guest speaker from NAMBLA to give the "other side" of child molestation? How about a fellow serial killer to speak up for Jeffrey Dahmer?

1:16 PM

Anonymous said...

It is amusing to observe so much hysteria and vitriol from otherwise supposedly reasonable people. As has been explained time and again, there is a big difference between inviting Irving to comment on the Holocaust and inviting Irving to comment on the trial. Thus, all those lame false analogies should be dropped.

1:46 PM

david gehrig said...

The only way for Irving to discuss the trial while avoiding the actual central matter of the trial -- his treatment of the Holocaust -- would be for him to talk an hour about the suit he wore and the cup he drank his coffee from. Either that or to rant, as he apparently did in Atlanta, that the Jews were out to destroy him.


2:19 PM

Anonymous said...

It is double-think to claim that Irving has a right to speak-- just not on an internationally renowned news channel. Irving's freedom of speech is most certainly what is at stake here. Laurie is absolutely right. If what he says is bunk, than surely Lipstadt's reasoned arguments will show it for what it is. The truth will out.

2:29 PM

david gehrig said...

In Irving's case, the truth already outed, in April 2000.

From the judgment: "13.51 For the reasons which I have given, I find that in most of the instances which they cite the Defendants' criticisms are justified. In those instances it is my conclusion that, judged objectively, Irving treated the historical evidence in a manner which fell far short of the standard to be expected of a conscientious historian. Irving in those respects misrepresented and distorted the evidence which was available to him."

If he's fallen "far short of the standard to be expected of a conscientious historian," then under what imaginable Wonderland argument does this give him the right to demand to be treated like a conscientious historian by C-SPAN?

Should the Science Channel give equal time to astrologers and alchemists and "let the viewer decide"? I notice that today's newspaper says that it's Friday. If I think it's really Tuesday, does that give me the right to demand time on C-SPAN to spread my alternative view, and let the viewer decide?


2:44 PM

Anonymous said...

You know, David, maybe your right, C-SPAN should have a white power hour. They could also have a black power hour, a hispanic power hour and maybe even a zionist power hour - then they all could be seen for what they are. I am not sure what your are afraid of.

2:47 PM

Anonymous said...

David, if the 2000 Lipstadt-Irving trial showed Irving's historical incompetence, why is Lipstadt writing a book now? (Just in case- today is March 18th 2005.) What are you afraid of?

2:59 PM

Anonymous said...

Constructive debate is not furthered by either party casting the opposition in a polar way - a way that is much easier to refute. David Irving has never said that the holocaust didn't happen (as you state), or that many Jews and other peoples didn't die horrible deaths. Rather, he has chosen to present his studied account of the events - horrible that he acknowledges they were. Given the diversity of accounts, why would his account be perceived as so threatening. Are the facts so certain that we can't even entertain alternative views?

3:20 PM

david gehrig said...

You know, I don't think so many straw men have been together in one place since auditions for The Wizard of Oz.

The interesting thread running through all three of the last responses is that they all say, in some form, "don't you find Holocaust deniers scary
or threatening?" ... and all three of the posters are hiding quivering behind anonymity.

Pretty funny.


4:21 PM

Anonymous said...

I don't care if Irving speaks or not, but Professor Lipstadt would do better to quote Judge Gray accurately. He never called Irving's views about the Holocaust "lies", that word isn't even in the judgment. He _did_ say that Irving distorted and fabricated evidence, mostly to do with Hitler.

Gray also made clear that he was not in the business of deciding historical issues:

"13.3 The question which I shall have to decide is whether the
Defendants have discharged the burden of establishing the
substantial truth of their claim that Irving has falsified the
historical record. In this connection I should repeat the caveat
expressed at the beginning of this judgment: the issue with
which I am concerned is Irvingıs treatment of the available
evidence. It is no part of my function to attempt to make
findings as to what actually happened during the Nazi regime.
The distinction may be a fine one but it is important to bear it
in mind."

He also praised Irving as a military historian:

"13.7 My assessment is that, as a military historian, Irving has
much to commend him. For his works of military history Irving
has undertaken thorough and painstaking research into the
archives. He has discovered and disclosed to historians and
others many documents which, but for his eVorts, might have
remained unnoticed for years. It was plain from the way in
which he conducted his case and dealt with a sustained and
penetrating cross-examination that his knowledge of World
War WO is unparalleled. His mastery of the detail of the
historical documents is remarkable. He is beyond question able
and intelligent. He was invariably quick to spot the significance
of documents which he had not previously seen. Moreover he
writes his military history in a clear and vivid style. I accept the
favourable assessment by Professor Watt and Sir John Keegan
of the calibre of Irvingıs military history (mentioned in paragraph
3.4 above) and reject as too sweeping the negative
assessment of Evans* (quoted in paragraph 3.5)."

He also registered surprise about the evidence for Auschwitz:

"13.71 I have to confess that, in common I suspect with most
other people, I had supposed that the evidence of mass extermination
of Jews in the gas chambers at Auschwitz was compelling.
I have, however, set aside this preconception when assessing
the evidence adduced by the parties in these proceedings."

He also found that Irving was in fact subject to unjustified defamation:

"13.166 But there are certain defamatory imputations which I
have found to be defamatory of Irving but which have not been
proved to be true. The Defendants made no attempt to prove
the truth of Lipstadtıs claim that Irving was scheduled to speak
at an anti-Zionist conference in Sweden in 1992, which was also
to be attended by various representatives of terrorist organisations
such as Hezbollah and Hamas. Nor did they seek to justify
Lipstadtıs claim that Irving has a self-portrait by Hitler hanging
over his desk. Furthermore the Defendants have, as I have held,
failed in their attempt to justify the defamatory imputations
made against Irving in relation to the Goebbels diaries in the
Moscow archive. The question which I have to ask myself is
whether the consequence of the Defendantsı failure to prove
the truth of these matters is that the defence of justification fails
in its entirety."

I consider Irving to have become rather loathsome over the years, but for all that, his archival work, his knowledge of the sources, and some of his analysis is quite fine, e.g., the bios of Rommel, Goering and even Goebbels are very illuminating. He didn't deserve a behind the scenes campaign to have his books boycotted, and by the way his books are models of sobriety compared to his disgusting public comments. He didn't deserve to be reduced to driving around the states to cadge a free meal here and there and raise a few bucks so he could throw them to his very vulnerable 12 year old daughter who still needs to be raised.

The comments about Irving in "Denying" were cavalier, poorly re-searched, unchecked, and succeeded in pauperizing a man who, although repellent in many ways, knows more about the Third Reich than anyone else living, made by someone who shows no familiarity with Third Reich archives whatsoever, and who rarely consults them in her books. Someone who, as well, proclaims her Jewishness and her pride in her Jewishness but who clearly knows next to nothing about the teaching of Lashon ha'ra, because otherwise she would not have taken part in this vindictive and malicious campaign to put a repellent and deeply flawed but altogether harmless _human being_ out in the street.

There's room for repentance all around here. In the meantime, let's keep the facts straight.

6:15 PM

david gehrig said...

"The comments about Irving in "Denying" were cavalier, poorly re-searched, unchecked, and succeeded in pauperizing a man ..."

... by the awkward fact of their being essentially true, substantial and substantiable, and much more in tune with reality than David Irving's Springtime-for-Hitler fantasias.

And Irving couldn't have lost the suit if he hadn't brought the suit in the first place. If he's a victim, then -- like Richard III and Richard Nixon too -- he's a victim of himself.


6:59 PM

anonymous said...

[[The only way for Irving to discuss the trial while avoiding the actual central matter of the trial -- his treatment of the Holocaust -- would be for him to talk an hour about the suit he wore and the cup he drank his coffee from. Either that or to rant, as he apparently did in Atlanta, that the Jews were out to destroy him.]]

Then, obviously, he shouldn't avoid talking about the central issue. It's that easy. :-)

4:01 AM

WJ Phillips said...

Instead of sueing a wealthy lobby, Irving should have found some dotcom multimillionaire in the Pacific North West to stake him in a more professional publishing venture than he himself can manage, flogging books out of the back of a van.

He would then have been able to diffuse his far-from-admiring portrait of Goebbels, and the volume in which he declares most of the Nuremberg defendants worthy of execution. More readers could see him at his best-- as a brilliant historical storyteller-- instead of trying to handle the complexities of race, economics and politics, for which Irving has little aptitude.

Such a publisher could also have circulated English translations of works by Ernst Nolte which define National Socialism as a reaction to Bolshevism, filling the background gaps in Irving's day-to-day sketches of Nazidom.

In the end, though, readability trumps all. I suspect that Irving's 'Hitler's War' and 'Churchill's War', packed as they are with the succulent truffles of his tireless research, will be perused and enjoyed by the common reader long after the plodding exegeses of tenured academics are gathering dust. His blind spots will be discounted.

10:02 AM

david gehrig said...

"In the end, though, readability trumps all."

I guess I don't think so little of the intelligence of the ordinary reader. But those who declare a priori
that they'd like to be spoonfed dubious pap are perfectly welcome to go to Irving's site, where they'll see it by the gallon.


11:30 AM

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