C-SPAN Hit for Plan to Air Holocaust Revisionist's Views
C-SPAN was hit with a barrage of criticism this week when it became public that the producers of the weekend program "Book TV" wanted to air a lecture by David Irving along with one by Lipstadt, a professor of Holocaust studies at Emory University in Atlanta. More than 200 historians nationwide signed a petition opposing the cable network's decision to put Irving on the program.
"He personifies Holocaust denial," said Harvard legal expert Alan M. Dershowitz, who introduced Lipstadt when she spoke to a packed room Wednesday at Harvard Hillel, a Jewish organization associated with Harvard University.
"This is not about free speech. He can stand on a street corner and rant and rave, but C-SPAN ought to let him sell his poison elsewhere. They shouldn't create a debate where one doesn't exist."
"We specifically approached this as historians," [Rafael Medoff, director of the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies in Washington] said. "This is a matter of historical fact, not interpretation." Medoff said that since the first petition was sent to C-SPAN, at least 100 more
historians internationally have signed on.
C-SPAN has not responded to the petition, and Medoff said he hoped that the television executives would publicly apologize rather than allow the controversy to quietly disappear.
"There is an important lesson learned from all this, that historians are united in regarding Holocaust deniers as bigots and frauds, and it is wrong for television to give Holocaust deniers air time," Medoff said.
Lipstadt, meanwhile, is getting some benefit from the controversy in the form of publicity about her book. She is scheduled to be interviewed by Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly on Monday night, and she said she would still be "thrilled" to appear on C-SPAN's "Book TV," without Irving.
Saturday, March 19, 2005
L.A. Times weighs in on C-SPAN
Here are some excerpts from the L.A. Times article that Prof. Lipstadt mentioned yesterday: