C-Span's Plan to Cover Talk on Holocaust Is Criticized
More than 200 historians 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 Jews.
"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."
"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 reconsider."
The Atlanta Journal Constitution has a similar article which begins:
Emory scholar tells C-SPAN 'no thanks'
An Emory University scholar who was sued by an author who denied the Holocaust is now at the center of a national storm involving the C-SPAN television network.
On March 16, The Jewish Press Online noted that:
C-SPAN Falls Over The Edge
C-SPAN often teeters on the brink of self-parody, particularly when the hosts of its morning discussion program, “Washington Journal,” stare impassively at the camera while yet another crazed caller recites chapter and verse of the latest conspiracy theories involving the Trilateral Commission or the Bush family’s Nazi/Saudi/Zionist/ KGB/CIA ties (choose one or more and don’t think twice about any seeming contradictions).
Formed in 1979 as, in the words of its mission statement, “a private, non-profit company...by the cable television industry as a public service....to provide public access to the political process,” C-SPAN is deadly serious about maintaining a reputation for non-partisanship — to the point even of allowing viewers to disseminate, unchallenged, all manner of unsubstantiated charges and outright lies.
But the ideal of non-partisanship, admirable when it comes to covering Congress and political conventions, can become something else entirely when used to provide respectability to lunatic-fringe ideologues who insist that a copiously documented, relatively recent historical event never really happened. And this is where C-SPAN has at last fallen over the brink and become a parody of it own sanctimoniousness.
Israel's Arutz Sheva has also weighed in with a brief piece focusing on the petition.