In a blog post on his FrontPageMag.com website, David Horowitz falsely claimed that Media Matters called him a liar. But he also admitted that there is a “sliver of truth in the Media Matters [April 10] statement” pointing out that on the April 6 edition of Hannity & Colmes, Horowitz falsely claimed that he does not attack university professors' political speech outside the classroom.
In an April 13 FrontPageMag.com blog post, conservative activist David Horowitz, president of Students for Academic Freedom (SAF), chronicled his email communication with Fox News' Hannity & Colmes co-host Alan Colmes regarding an April 10 Media Matters item pointing out that on the April 6 edition of Hannity & Colmes, Horowitz falsely claimed that he does not attack university professors' political speech outside the classroom. In the blog post, Horowitz not only attacked Media Matters, claiming Media Matters called him a liar, but he also admitted that there is a “sliver of truth in the Media Matters [April 10] statement ... since my book is a series of profiles of 101 professors” who are, according to Horowitz, “the most dangerous academics in America.” Horowitz then added that he profiles the professors' “general perspectives, which may or may not be expressed outside the classroom ... [b]ut there's a difference between that and saying because what they say is ludicrous outside the classroom [that] they shouldn't be in it.”
In the email exchange, Horowitz told Colmes that “reasonable people can disagree about sound-bites on a fast-paced show like [Hannity & Colmes] where you're sitting in the dark and things are coming at you from all sides ... but calling people liars over these matters is not right.” In the blog post, he also used the words “lie,” “lied,” “liar,” and “lies” in quotation marks to portray how Media Matters referred to him. However, in our April 10 item, Media Matters never referred to Horowitz as a “liar” nor made any assertion that Horowitz “lied.” Media Matters simply corrected Horowitz's false claim that he has refrained from criticizing “professors' political speech” outside of the classroom by pointing to numerous occasions on which he had done so in his recent book, The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America (Regnery January 2006).
As Media Matters noted, on the April 12 edition of Hannity & Colmes, Horowitz attacked Media Matters as a “smear site, claiming that his ” agendas have been so distorted by smear sites like Media Matters and by the left." His comments came when Colmes confronted him regarding his April 6 appearance on Hannity & Colmes. On the April 12 edition of the show, Colmes said to Horowitz: "[L]ast time you were on the show, Media Matters came up with a list of items in your book, for example, where you criticized teachers for what they do outside the classroom, though you claimed on this show last time you go after them for what they do in the classroom." Horowitz then claimed, “This is not true,” adding that “the fact that I describe who they [the professors] are is not the same as saying that I consider this a fault.”
From Horowitz's April 13 blog post on FrontPageMag.com:
Last night I appeared on the Hannity & Colmes Show from Harrisburg Pennsylvania (I'm in the vicinity to speak at Penn State) and Alan confronted me with the most recent of many attacks on me by the [progressive financier George] Soros-[David] Brock [Media Matters' president and CEO] Media Matters website. According to Media Matters, I “lied” on a previous H&C segment in saying my book does not attack professors for views they hold outside the classroom. That does not mean of course that I don't find Ward Churchill's views reprehensible -- I do. It just means that if leftists like Churchill keep their political extremism outside the classroom, I'm not going to accuse them of violating academic standards inside the classroom. Of course if their academic publications are propaganda cartoons then their academic credentials are suspect on that score. As it happens, in our debate Ward Churchill said that he “professes” his political views in the classroom. So the question raised by Media Matters in his case is “moot.”
Of course Media Matters didn't express an intellectual disagreement with me on these issues; they just called me a “liar.” So when Alan brought up their charge, I told him it was a smear site, and wasn't worth responding to. Alan was genuinely non-plussed by this characterization. So today I wrote him this email:
Just to clarify Alan. One reason I refer to Media Matters as a “smear site” is that they invariably take reasonable differences of opinion and refer to them as “lies” by their adversaries (like me). This is one of those cases.
My objection to Media Matters is that they convert this difference in views of my book into a “lie” on my part.
As I said, reasonable people can disagree about sound-bites on a fast-paced show like H&C where you're sitting in the dark and things are coming at you from all sides (I actually did a double take over Sean's question about Nazis and Klansmen -- I thought it was coming from you), but calling people liars over these matters is not right.