Monday, April 4, 2005

C-Span went ahead and broadcast their Lipstadt/Irving show yesterday. (Prior posts here and here.)

Lipstadt herself did not appear, although they did use clips of she and Irving (appearing separately).

The video of the show is here. Lipstadt comments on the broadcast on her blog here.

Washington Post reporter T.R. Reid was the only live voice, and he effectively poo-poo'd Irving and the clips that were shown of him - although I believe he was woefully naive on the "balance" issue.

Update: I shorted this earlier because I did not have much time. Of course you cannot simply toss both sides out there on equal time and leave it up to the marketplace of ideas to sort out truth from fiction in a one hour program - even without commercials. It is irresponsible to put a truth-teller up against someone who has no qualms about lying with a straight face and expect even an above-average audience to sort out the truth from fiction. First of all, neither side has the time necessary to truly craft their case, nor would most people have the attention-span to focus on it even if they did. The trial took months and the issues cannot possibly be done justice to in a one hour program. Further, most people do not have the resources at hand, nor the ability at hand to fact and context-check every claim. Holocaust-deniers are masters of twisting the truth to form wholely new creations.

Given two reasonable-sounding cases, and little but the presentations themselves to recommend either, many well-meaning people will find themselves being drawn somewhere toward the center - the fallacy of the golden mean is a particularly seductive one.

Think of some controversial issue of which you are somewhat expert but that can easily be misunderstood and the public mislead when presented by someone you know to have a fringe view. Think of some court case or some disagreement you've had in which you know you were 100% right given someone taking the time to really sit down and examine your case, and how dangerous and frustrating it is if they don't - how easily a false impression can result from too little information gleaned too casually.

I find it hard to believe that T.R. Reid wouldn't grasp this. I think, however, he does, and when he says that Irving should be heard, and that Lipstadt was wrong for not agreeing to appear with him, he really means that it would have been OK - they would have presented Irving and then someone like he would have been there to give the nudge-nudge on who to believe (as happened on the show as presented) - that's the newsman's version of the marketplace of ideas...we'll present both sides - sort of - and then slant things so it's clear who the reader or viewer is expected to be sympathetic to.

C-Span claims that they weren't going to do this (present both sides equally, or stage some sort of "debate"), but it doesn't sound like they let Deborah Lipstadt know that, and C-Span has a reputation for hands-off play of "both sides" equally (although not usually on BookTV).


Watching TR Reid now on the feed.
He is pretty good except that he is trying to overdramatize it like an event, which I'm sure it was.

However, he compares Lipstadt and Irving as both enjoying the fight... etc...
As if its enjoyable for her to have to defend the Holocaust over and over from defamation.

Then he goes on about how poor Irving was broke and couldn't afford a lawyer and how the judge 'tut tutted' him for his improper behavior in the court.

Then how Lipstadt had all these 'hired guns' and historians and top notch lawyers etc....

Not that Irving is necessarily a complete fraud and phoney.

He also almost tries to humanize him as an ok guy.

You can definitely come out feeling sympathy for Irving listening to Reid, though I know that's not his intent.

(BTW, have updated the post.)

Wrong Solomon.
The trial and then a joint appearance gives Irving name recognition and fame.
It presents him as a person with a view etc...

Lipstadt didn't want to give this hateful fraudulent liar the respect to appear with him and re-debate his 'ideas' which the court found were completely fraudulent.

Now they're showing Irving presenting himself as the David with Lipstadt with a team of compters and instant information.

He's getting everything he wanted publicity and notoriety which lends you some credibility, and a voice and more potential interest and places to spread your poison.

As Lipstadt said its only going to get worse as time goes on and Survivors die.


Oh, I don't agree with it. I'm just saying that's the impression the casual viewer can get. I think the thing is that Reid doesn't really take Irving seriously. He thinks he's a sad case that no one could possibly take seriously. He's wrong on that and grossly underestimates the danger of a person like David Irving.

He's talking about a publisher or serious historian taking him seriously, etc...

That's nonsense. There are plenty of places that want a guy like him. Reid tries to intimate that now anti-semites will want him etc... as if there's a difference between Irving as a Holocaust denier now minimizer (by force of facts he can't deny).

Reid pontificates as if nobody would ever try to question or minimize the Holocaust?

Has he ever been to far left wing websites? WRH - Radio Free Islam - The Arab Press - Al Jazeera - Vanguard - David Duke - Nationalist parties in Europe that are silenced by hate speech laws...

Give me a break!

This is all notoriety and better for Irving and if you don't think so you're crazy. Its just the first crack in the wall. Deniers will NEVER stop as Lipstadt says and will get more clever taking Irving's first step and work and go from there.

John Lukacs is now taking the judge to task for classifying Irving as a 'tireless researcher'.... and making the point about what you do with that research.

55 minutes in and Lipstadt said exactly what I just said what I said above.
She didn't even want to dignify appearing on a talk show where some deniers would appear.
The producer eventually admitted that she thought 'shouldn't the people need to hear both sides

And that's the first step in the process, even if its an assumed weak or crazy other side.. its the first step in getting into the debate as a valid voice.

And if there's no fireworks there's no show.

Reid disagrees and says let the people see what the judge saw etc..
But what if the next guy is a handsome very well spoken person on tv and presents facts in a clever but totally misconstrued way...
Its how politicians excel in it doesn't matter what you say but how you say it.

So the idea Reid presents that people would automatically ignore and discount him is ignorance on his part and the reason why the Deniers who will NEVER stop will grow in danger as time goes on.


"Syme: It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. You wouldn't have seen the [Newspeak] Dictionary 10th edition, would you Smith? It's that thick. [illustrates thickness with fingers] The 11th Edition will be that [narrows fingers] thick. Winston Smith: So, The Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect? Syme: The secret is to move from translation, to direct thought, to automatic response. No need for self-discipline. Language coming from here [the larynx], not from here [the brain]" -1984 (film)


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