David Horowitz in ATC obituary with substance-free attack
Fair Special Alert: To spit or not to spit, that is the question
Dateline: 1/29/10 [print_link]
WHEN PROGRESSIVE HISTORIAN HOWARD ZINN died on January 27, NPR’s All Things Considered (1/28/10) marked his passing with something you don’t often see in an obituary: a rebuttal.
After quoting Noam Chomsky and Julian Bond, NPR’s Allison Keyes turned to far-right activist David Horowitz to symbolically spit on Zinn’s grave. “There is absolutely nothing in Howard Zinn’s intellectual output that is worthy of any kind of respect,” Horowitz declared. “Zinn represents a fringe mentality which has unfortunately seduced millions of people at this point in time. So he did certainly alter the consciousness of millions of younger people for the worse.”
Horowitz’s substance-free attack contributed nothing to an understanding of Zinn’s life or work, other than conveying that he’s disliked by cranky right-wingers. (Horowitz has been best known in recent years for his race-baiting and Muslim-bashing–Extra!, 5-6/02; FAIR report, 10/1/08.) He seems to have been included merely to demonstrate that NPR will not allow praise for a leftist to go unaccompanied by conservative contempt.
Needless to say, it is not the case that NPR has a consistent principle that all its obituaries be thus “balanced.” Take its coverage of the death of William F. Buckley, a figure as admired by the right as much as Zinn was on the left. Upon his death in February 2008, NPR aired six segments commemorating him, none of which included a non-admiring guest. In two segments, All Things Considered (2/27/08) presented the remembrances of Rich Lowry (Buckley’s successor atNational Review), his son Christopher and his biographer Sam Tanenhaus.
It’s a fact that NPR has long become a bastion for centrist, anti-left commentary. In few places is the cowardice and treachery of mainstream liberals to the cause of progressive politics more clearly in evidence, and more furiously denounced by hypocrites and imbeciles on the right as a bastion of communists or worse…It could only happen in America.
One of the All Things Considered segments did include a soundbite of Noam Chomsky debating with Buckley: “No, I don’t believe that…. In fact I think that…” But what Chomsky did not believe was unclear, let alone what he actually thought.
Talk of the Nation (2/27/08) featured admirer William Kristol, while Day by Day (2/27/08) had an extended interview with protegee David Brooks. Morning Edition (2/28/08) just quoted Buckley himself.
The celebration of Buckley culminated with Weekend Edition host Scott Simon (2/29/08), who turned the cause of death into a eulogy: “Emphysema, such an unseemly thing for a man who was so often a breath of fresh air.”
In fact, there was much to criticize about Buckley, who was a supporter of, among other things, white supremacism in the U.S. South and South Africa, McCarthyism, nuclear war against China and the tattooing of AIDS patients’ buttocks (Extra!, 5-6/08). Reporting his death, however, NPR didn’t think it was worth bringing on a critic who would take a negative view. Why the same outlet took a different approach when the subject was an intellectual on the left rather than the right is perhaps something the NPR ombud could answer.
ACTION: Please ask the NPR ombud why All Things Considered brought on David Horowitz to trash the late Howard Zinn when NPR’s extensive coverage of William F. Buckley included no critical guests.
You can contact NPR ombud Alicia Shepard through this web form:
Or call 202-513-3245.
You can post a copy of your message to NPR here:
This is what David Horowitz sounds like, straight form his mouth. Judge for yourselves. (Taken from his site David Horowitz’ Newsreal).
DAVID HOROWITZ: Spitting on Howard Zinn’s Grave?
The other day a reporter from NPR called me and asked me for my comments on the death of the lifelong Stalinist and propagandist Howard Zinn. I was a little reluctant because I knew that whatever I said, legions of unscrupulous myrmidons on the left would jump on it and say I had spit on Zinn’s grave. I also knew that while I was interviewed for ten minutes, out of what I said only a 20 second sound-bite would make it onto the air. I don’t begrudge NPR this selection. That’s what their obit was and would have to be, a collection of sound-bites.
Sure enough the bottom-feeders at FAIR pounced on my bite and accused me of spitting on Zinn’s grave. So here’s what I said that was cut from the interview. I’m not putting quotes around it because it’s from memory, but it’s pretty close to some of my remarks and captures the sense of others: No one should celebrate the death of another human being unless they are child-molesters or murderers. Howard Zinn lived to a ripe old age (87), and bad human being that he was, I wouldn’t begrudge him an extra few years; he’s done about as much damage as he could.
Howard Zinn was a Stalinist in the years when the Marxist monster was slaughtering millions of innocent people and launching his own ‘final solution’ against the Jews. Put another way, Howard Zinn was helping Stalin to conduct those slaughters and to enslave all those who had the misfortune to live behind the Iron Curtain. Howard never had second thoughts about his commitment to leftwing totalitarians and never flagged in his political commitment to freedom’s enemies. In the years since Stalin’s death, Zinn supported every enemy of the United States in every war, and devoted his writing talents to every socialist tyrant including Mao Zedong who killed 70 million Chinese in peacetime because they got in the way of his progressive agendas.
When the Cold War was over and freedom had won — thanks to all the political forces and figures (e.g., Reagan and Thatcher) that Zinn opposed – Zinn continued his malignant course. He supported America’s enemies right to the end including the Islamic Nazis whose first agenda is to finish the job that Hitler started and then to impose a totalitarian theocracy on the infidel world.
Zinn’s wretched tract, A People’s History of the United States, is worthless as history, and it is a national tragedy that so many Americans have fallen under its spell. It is a political cartoon which eventhe socialist magazine Dissent described as an intellectual fraud, which it is. All Zinn’s writing was directed to one end: to indict his own country as an evil state and soften his countrymen up for the kill. Like his partner in crime, Noam Chomsky, Zinn was a wicked man and his life’s work was a pernicious influence on the young and ignorant, with destructive consequences for people everywhere.