Monday, April 4, 2005

Wyman Institute: "C-SPAN Admits Error"

The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies has issued a news release following yesterday's BookTV program.

C-SPAN Admits Error in Plan to Air Holocaust-Denier

PHILADELPHIA, April 4 /U.S. Newswire/ -- C-SPAN has publicly acknowledged it was wrong to plan to broadcast a speech by Holocaust-denier David Irving, following a petition by over 500 historians and other scholars organized by the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies.

"C-SPAN now admits it was wrong to try to 'balance' the history of the Holocaust by broadcasting a professional liar who claims the Holocaust never happened. This is a significant victory over the antisemitic industry of Holocaust-denial," said Dr. Rafael Medoff, director of the Wyman Institute.

When C-SPAN's "Book TV" program announced last month that it would "balance" a broadcast of Holocaust scholar Prof. Deborah Lipstadt with a broadcast of Holocaust-denier David Irving, the Wyman Institute organized a petition urging C-SPAN to cancel the Irving broadcast, arguing that "Giving a platform to a Holocaust- denier to 'balance' a Holocaust historian is as outrageous as giving a platform to the Flat Earth Society to balance a speech by an astronomer, or broadcasting a program about Black history that would be "balanced" by a program featuring someone denying that African-Americans were enslaved."

Within ten days, more than 500 prominent historians and other scholars signed the petition. C-SPAN has also reported that it received more than 3,000 e-mails, most of them opposing the plan to broadcast Irving.

In response, C-Span canceled its plan to broadcast Irving's speech; aired a program (on April 3 and April 4) in which Book TV executive producer Connie Doebele admitted it was wrong for C- Span to plan to "balance" Lipstadt's lecture with Irving, and expressed regret; and presented brief excerpts of Irving's remarks with a commentator describing him as a Holocaust-denier, rather than uncritically presenting his speech, as it had originally planned.

The signatories to the Wyman Institute petition included:

-- New Republic editor-in-chief Dr. Martin Peretz, Harvard Law School Prof. Alan Dershowitz, and Princeton scholar Dr. Michael Walzer;

-- Internationally renowned historians and scholars Eric Foner, Simon Schama, and Istvan Deak, of Columbia; David Brion Davis, Harold Bloom, and Paul Kennedy of Yale; Charles Maier and Richard Pipes of Harvard; and Robert Dallek of Boston University;

-- Pulitzer prize winning historians David Levering Lewis, Jack Rakove, and Lloyd Schwartz;

-- Media notables Marvin Kalb and Ben Stein;

-- Holocaust scholars Christopher Browning, Richard Breitman, Deborah Dwork, David S. Wyman, Randolph Braham, Daniel Goldhagen, Omer Bartov, and Ronald Zweig;

-- Leading Jewish historians Jonathan Sarna, Yosef Yerushalmi, Robert Chazan, and Deborah Dash Moore

-- Bard College president Leon Botstein and University of Bridgeport president emeritus Richard L. Rubenstein.

as well as historians from England, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Israel, and Japan.

( To view the full list of signatories, go to )

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