Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Publisher's Lunch on C-Span Controversy

From Publisher's Lunch the publishing industry's "daily essential read," (daily circ. 30,000) which reports on stories of interest to the professional trade book community

Historian Denies C-SPAN for Wanting to Air Holocaust Denier

C-SPAN is taking flak from a number of sides over their plan to give air time to Holocaust denier David Irving. The original excuse for the broadcast was that Irving would "balance" a planned airing of a lecture by Holocaust scholar Deborah Lipstadt at Harvard. Lipstadt prevailed in a lengthy libel case brought against her by Irving in the UK, which is the subject of her new book HISTORY ON TRIAL.

Lipstadt explains in a NY Sun column today: "My book was a personal account of the experience of having to defend the truth of what I wrote. The opportunity to have an hour to discuss it on C-span was something I looked forward to, until I learned that they were intending to juxtapose my talk with one by Mr. Irving. In essence, they were planning to create the debate between us, a debate I have long refused to have. I consider debating Holocaust deniers to be the equivalent of asking NASA scientists to debate those who argue that the moon landing actually happened on a sound stage in Nevada."

Though Lipstadt withdrew permission to have her Harvard speech aired, C-SPAN told her they would broadcast a piece with Irving anyway. "When I protested to C-span, they insisted that they broadcast all opinions [Holocaust denial is an 'opinion'?] and that they broadcast liars all the time, after all, a C-span producer told me, 'they put on members of Congress,' - thus equating the U.S. Congress with bigoted liars. I cannot imagine them 'balancing' an appearance by a specialist on African-American history with someone who says slavery was a pleasant experience."

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