David Horowitz debunks David Horowitz: a Media Matters analysis of The Professors

››› ››› BEN ARMBRUSTER & ROB SAVILLO

Right-wing activist David Horowitz has attacked Media Matters for America for noting -- contrary to Horowitz's denial on the April 6 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes -- that his recent book contains numerous instances in which he cited the purported extracurricular activities of the professors he criticized in the book. Horowitz has conceded that there is a "sliver of truth in the Media Matters statement" that documented his inconsistencies, but he downplayed this, claiming that "my book is a series of profiles of 101 professors" that includes "general perspectives, [that] may or may not be expressed outside the classroom." However, a detailed Media Matters study of the book shows that Horowitz's suggestion that his book does not rely heavily on professors' activities and speech outside of the classroom is false.

In recent days, right-wing activist David Horowitz, president of Students for Academic Freedom, has repeatedly attacked Media Matters for America for noting -- contrary to Horowitz's denial on the April 6 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes -- that his recent book The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America (Regnery, January 2006) contains numerous instances in which Horowitz cited the purported extracurricular activities of the professors he criticized in the book. Horowitz conceded in an April 13 FrontPageMag.com blog post that there is a "sliver of truth in the Media Matters statement" that documented his inconsistencies, but he downplayed this, claiming that "my book is a series of profiles of 101 professors" that includes "general perspectives, [that] may or may not be expressed outside the classroom."

However, a more detailed Media Matters study of The Professors shows that even Horowitz's revised suggestion -- that his book does not rely heavily on professors' activities and speech outside of the classroom, but rather merely mentions extracurricular activities as part of a broader profile of each academic's "general perspectives" -- is false. The study found that of the 100 professors profiled (not 101 as the book's title indicates), Horowitz noted the outside-the-classroom speech and activities of 94 professors in seeking to support his assertions that they are America's "most dangerous academics"; in other words, contrary to his claims on the April 6 edition of Hannity & Colmes, Horowitz criticized only six professors exclusively for their in-class activities (including their speech in class, course titles and/or texts used). Furthermore, in most cases (52 out of 100), Horowitz listed only out-of-class activities, apparently basing his entire claim that a professor is "dangerous" on events that occurred outside the classroom, without mention of anything that went on inside the classroom.

Even when Horowitz did bring up classroom activities, his evidence was thin. Many of his accounts of a professor's classroom activities are based on unverified student descriptions gleaned from such sources as RateMyProfessors.com. In other instances, his entire case that a professor is "dangerous" in the classroom consisted of the title of a course or a book assigned by the professor.

As he continues to contest the merits of our criticism, Horowitz has continued to attack Media Matters, which he has labeled a "smear site" and falsely accused of calling his April 6 statement a "lie." Most recently, in a column dated April 19 on FrontPageMag.com, Horowitz attacked Media Matters and Media Matters research fellow Max Blumenthal, although he did not identify Blumenthal's affiliation with Media Matters. Horowitz wrote that Blumenthal's father, author and former Clinton aide Sidney Blumenthal, has "no decency" for not exercising "his paternal instincts [that] might have led him to caution his son before embarking so early on a bottom-feeding career," adding that "Max is an accomplished mud-slinger" and noting that Horowitz himself had previously referred to Blumenthal as "scuzzy."

Below is a list of the professors profiled in Horowitz's book. Media Matters analyzed each profile, categorizing how Horowitz described each professor: 1) included only in-class activities/speech or texts/courses; 2) included in-class activities/speech or texts/courses and activities/speech outside of the classroom; 3) included only activities/speech outside of the classroom.

Category legend

1

Inclusion of ONLY in-class activities/speech or texts/courses

2

Inclusion of in-class activities/speech or texts/courses AND activities/speech outside of the classroom

3

Inclusion of ONLY activities/speech outside of the classroom

Chart 1

The Professors

Chart 2

Professor

Category

Page Numbers

1

2

3

Ali al-Mazrui

x

281-283

Alison Jaggar

x

227-229

Aminah Beverly McCloud

x

263;264

Amiri Baraka

x

35-39

Anatole Anton

x

11

Angela Davis

x

115-119

Armando Navarro

x

288-291

bell hooks (Gloria Watkins)

x

223-226

Bernardine Dohrn

x

125-127

Bettina Aptheker

x

13-16

Bill Ayers

x

29-32

Caroline Higgins

x

215-218

Dana Cloud

x

92-95

David Barash

x

40-46

David Cole

x

96-99

Dean Saitta

x

312-314

Derrick Bell

x

56-60

Dessima Williams

x

352

Elizabeth M. Brumfiel

x

77-80

Emma Perez

x

300-303

Eric Foner

x

177-179

Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick

x

323-324

Frederic Jameson

x

230-233

Gayle Rubin

x

307-311

George Wolfe

x

354-356

Gil Anidjar

x

9-10

Gordon Fellman

x

171-173

Gover Furr

x

186-189

Greg Thomas

x

334-335

Gregory Dawes

x

120-122

H. Bruce Franklin

x

183-185

Hamid Algar

x

3-5

Hamid Dabashi

x

110-114

Harry Targ

x

329-332

Hatem Bazian

x

47-49

Haunani-Kay Trask

x

343-344

Howard Zinn

x

358-364

Ishan Bagby

x

33-34

James Holstun

x

219-222

Jerry Lembcke

x

253-255

Joe Feagin

x

167-170

Joel Beinin

x

52-54

John Bellamy Foster

x

180-182

John Esposito

x

148-151

Jose Angel Gutierrez

x

202-205

Joseph Massad

x

273-275

Juan Cole

x

100-102

Kathleen Cleaver

x

89-91

Larry Estrada

x

152-155

Laurie Brand

x

74-76

Leighton Armitage

x

21-22

Leonard Jeffries

x

234-237

Lewis Gordon

x

197-201

Lisa Anderson

x

6-7

M. Shahid Alam

x

1-2

Manning Marable

x

266-270

Marc Becker

x

50-51

Marc Ellis

x

142-145

Mari Matsuda

x

278-280

Mark Ensalaco

x

146-147

Mark LeVine

x

256-259

Marvin Berlowitz

x

61-65

Mary Frances Berry

x

66-70

Matthew Evangelista

x

156-159

Melissa Gilbert

x

190-193

Michael Berube

x

71-73

Michael Eric Dyson

x

132-135

Michael Schwartz

x

319-321

Michael Vocino

x

346

Michael Warner

x

348

Miriam Cooke

x

103-107

Nicholas De Genova

x

123-124

Noam Chomsky

x

84-88

Norman Finkelstein

x

174-176

Oneida Meranto

x

284-287

Orvill Schell

x

319-322

Patrick Coy

x

108-109

Paul Ehrlich

x

139-141

Peter Kirstein

x

245-249

Priya Parmar

x

297-298

Regina Austin

x

26-28;27

Richard Falk

x

160-163

Rick Eckstein

x

136-138

Robert Dunkley

x

128-131

Robert Jensen

x

239;240

Robert McChesney

x

260-262

Ron (Maulana) Karnega

x

242-244

Sam Richards

x

304-306

Sami al-Arian

x

17-20

Sasan Fayazmanesh

x

164-166

Stanley Aronowitz

x

23-25

Suzanne Toton

x

339-340

Thomas Castellano

x

81-83

Timothy Shortell

x

326-327

Todd Gitlin

x

194-196

Tom Hayden

x

212-214

Victor Navasky

x

292-295

Vinay Lal

x

250-253

Warren Haffar

x

209-211

Yvonne Haddad

x

206-208

From the April 19 article on FrontPageMag.com:

The successes of the academic freedom campaign and the publication of The Professors have produced a rash of websites and a phalanx of pundits devoted to attacking them. Their assaults deploy the unsavory weapons of the character assassin trade -- distortion, smears and concocted tales, and a reflexive pouncing on every intellectual disagreement or error honestly made or innocent confusion and treating them as if they were unambiguous, calculated and malicious "lies" by the adversary target. The assumption is that if such tactics are repeated often enough, the enemy will find himself buried under such a pile of sludge that his arguments will simply disappear.

There is nothing new in such tactics. Since the days of Stalin (and Lenin and Marx before) the left has thrived on scorching hatred for its opponents and an attitude of no quarter on the political battlefield. In the free fire zones of the wars they fight, no one can oppose a leftist position on reasonable grounds or for reasonable concerns. The purity of the leftist cause can only be doubted by "fascists," "racists," "homophobes," "enemies of humanity" and "liars." Opponents of the left are sickening specimens of the race -- indecent and unworthy of common respect. To dignify their arguments is a crime against humanity and its aspirations for a better life. They need to be eliminated from the discussion once and for all.

Among the the [sic] websites driven by these passions is FreeExchangeOnCampus.org, which is financed by the teacher unions, and Media Matters and Campus Progress, which are funded by George Soros and the billionaires behind his operations to unseat President Bush. And one of the attack dogs of the campaign is the son of Sidney Blumenthal, the White House operative who Clinton assigned to destroy the character and credibility Monica Lewinsky and other of his female victims who showed a readiness to defend themselves and fight back.

[...]

If Max's father had a sense of decency, his paternal instincts might have led him to caution his son before embarking so early on a bottom-feeding career. But Sidney Blumenthal has no such decency and would not even know how to perform this paternal function if it occurred to him to do so.

[...]

Max's malice was also on display in the "interview" he conducted with me after the Churchill debate. I put the word "interview" in quotes since he did not reveal to me who he was until the interview was over. Moreover, he had arranged to have half of it conducted by an agent posing as a journalist unrelated to him. The deception was easy since the "interview" took place among a crowd of onlookers and reporters present who had gathered around the FoxNewsChannel camera to watch the Hannity & Colmes segment that was televised immediately after the debate.

For all I know the journalist pretender was actually a journalist, although Max's article describes him as merely "a friend." The friend asked me what I thought of Max's attack in The Nation on the Madison Center at Princeton, a conservative speaker's program set up by conservative philosophy professor Robert George. I said the attack displayed the totalitarian mind-set of the Blumenthal left. Princeton is a typical campus featuring multiple ideologically leftwing departments and programs and the Madison Center is a lone and very modest conservative effort to bring intellectuals to Princeton who could not get a faculty position at Princeton because of the existing blacklist. The Madison Center is not even a department or a curriculum at Princeton, and yet it was already too much intellectual diversity for leftists like Max. One modest program and Max and The Nation felt the need to stamp it out as a threat.

When I had finished answering, the imposter journalist then asked me what I thought of Max Blumenthal. Still unaware that he was standing next to me, I said "He's a chip off the scuzzy old block." The plant asked me how I spelled "scuzzy." S-C-U-Z-Z-Y. Then he said: "That's Max Blumenthal," who glared hard at me and vanished.

Previously, I had written an entire piece about [Jared] Taylor [editor of American Renaissance magazine] and why his views were deplorable and should be rejected. I did so not only because that is my view, but because the attempt to pin Taylor's views on me was already part of a leftwing campaign to slander and discredit me as a racist. Max is an accomplished mud-slinger in this effort, having written an article about Christopher Hitchens and me attempting to link us to neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers.

Posted In
Education, Intellectual Freedom
Network/Outlet
FrontPage Magazine
Person
David Horowitz
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