Sunday, May 27, 2007

C-Span: A long overdue comment about a very old issue

I have been remiss not to have long ago added this comment about the C-Span controversy which occurred when my book, History on Trial: My Day in court with David Irving was first published.

As some readers will remember C-Span insisted on my appearing either with David Irving or back to back [a segment by him and then one by me]. In other words, we would appear as two sides of the issue.

At first the Ethics Scoreboard supported my refusal to appear. I blogged about that.
It subsequently retracted its support. I failed to explicitly blog about that. That was wrong on my part.

The reason it withdrew its support was that C-Span told it that all it wanted to do was show the views against which I was fighting, e.g. when the fight against evolution is discussed the views of creationists are shown. This, the Ethicsscoreboard says, is good journalistic practice.

If that is what C-Span planned to do, that is not what they told me or reporters from the Washington Post, New York Times, and other papers that covered the incident.

If this is what C-Span planned to do, when then did it ultimately admit its error or use the word "balance," when it said it planned to balance its coverage of me with coverage of Irving.

C-Span's producer was quite explicit: either appear with David Irving on the same platform and we will film that or we will show you in one segment and then follow up your presentation with one of the same length by Irving.

This is precisely what deniers want, to be thought of as an "other side." For a prime example of this approach by deniers, see my previous post on how Al Hurra covered the Iranian Holocaust conference.

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