Saturday, April 2, 2005

Letters to C-SPAN

If the contents of my mailbox are any indication, C-SPAN has been receiving a good many letters lately - by far the majority of them excoriating C-SPAN. There was some support - from expected quarters, of course. One Irving supporter wrote:
"If Deborah Lipstadt is so convinced and confident about her beliefs and convictions regarding the Holocaust, then what does she have to fear in having an opposing view ? People that know they are in " the right " never fear debating opposing and incorrect viewpoints, and they welcome the opportunity to do so...

"What is she afraid of in having another viewpoint ? She must be hiding something, or perhaps she's not as convinced of her findings and beliefs as she would like us to believe...

"I applaud and commend C-Span for having the courage and confidence to attempt to give BOTH sides of a story, an equal chance. If people cease to be open to hearing all sides of an argument, then what's the point of having beliefs at all ?

"Kudos to you, C-Span, and I hope Ms. Lipstadt regains her courage and gives the public a fair opportunity to hear all views, not just hers..."

A supporter of C-SPAN (but not of Irving) wrote:

"Ms. Lipstadt has every right to refuse C-Span permission to tape her talk for whatever reason she wants. But she does herself no favor by doing so. I can't understand the preference that so many academics have to deny the other side a platform to speak, rather than engage in debate and debunk the bad arguments. […]

"What's more, I'm surprised Ms. Lipstadt didn't recognize what a gift C-Span was offering. She knows Irving's arguments better than anyone, and obviously she can effectively debunk them. Knowing that Irving's talk would be paired with hers, she could use that opportunity to knock down his key arguments and prepare the viewing audience to be critical of his presentation; or critique his arguments while they were fresh in the viewers' minds. Who cares, really, what happened in the libel case?; there's a bigger truth to present to the American people, a bigger lie to debunk, and the same big fool to expose. Plus, she can use mockery, anger, ridicule--all the rhetorical tricks a college professor has that are not allowed in a British court--to make her points that much better. Whatever order the two shows are shown, she can make Irving and his arguments look bad."

Here is a sampling of excerpts from the majority view:

"I would not expect a television with C-Span's gravitas and reputation for truth to give a platform to a man who has been described by a High Court judge as a liar who distorts facts. I have for a long time had the highest regard for C-Span's coverage and I am disappointed with you for even considering an interview [with] Mr. Irving. Deniers of the Holocaust, who are by definition not tellers of truth, have no place on C-Span"

"I am a regular viewer and supporter of book t.v. I have sent them an email re: my disappointment and astonishment at their position re: televising your discussion of your new book. I remember hearing you speak in Los Angeles where we live. I hope that cspan receives enough emails that they will know how unhappy their viewers are and that they will televise you soon. I will now add an addendum when I tell people about book t.v. and relate what has happened to you."

"I am outraged that you would give a platform to David Irving, who is a known Holocaust denier. This is an example of political correctness gone crazy, and anti-Semitism at its most dangerous. To allow David Irving to speak is an affront to each and every innocent who perished at the hands of Hitler for no other reason than their religion. To allow David Irving to speak and to give his outrageous assertions that the history of the Holocaust exaggerates the claims of the brutality of the Third Reich encourages the world to forget the horrors of the death camps. If your airing of David Irving encourages the world to erase the memory of even one innocent killed you have damaged our collective memory.

"I hope that C-Span will reconsider its decision to air David Irving and his ideas about rewriting history. [...] If C-Span gives David Irving a venue, then truth is threatened."

"If you read the court's 300 plus page decision or the parts included in D.Lipstadt's book, you would see that is all David [Irving] has to say is a "story." It is a "story" by a proven Holocaust denier, a liar, a person who fooled many into believing that he was a "historian" by deliberately falsifying facts. If you wish the public to hear these lies once more you could direct them to Lipstadt's book or the court's decision. [...] Your "Comment" is intellectually unsatisfactory. You have not responded to the positions of those that have written you reasonable reasons why you should not broadcast anything by Irving in conjunction with broadcasting Deborah Lipstadt and her amazing new book. Your apparent attempt to capitalize by broadcasting someone that you thought would bring controversy to her appearance and somehow boost your ratings has failed you and brought disgrace upon you and your network. Shame on you."

"In 2000, I was living in London and remember the trial well. David Irving had his day in court and was thoroughly repudiated.

"Thus, I don’t see the great need for CSPAN to present ‘his side’ of the story and allow him back into the public arena, especially in some kind of balancing effort."

No comments: