The little Goebbels are still trying to destroy Ward Churchill

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Thomas Veil, Mar 18, 2005.

  1. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

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    #1
    Apparently there are still people rabidly determined to destroy Ward Churchill for a comment he made a few years ago referring to some victims of the World Trade Center attack as "little Eichmanns." Frankly, I'm amazed this controversy is still going.

    One of the things that's troubling is that the media do not seem to be making much effort into putting his comment in context. On the surface, yes, it sounds like an idiotic statement. But consider the framework within which he made that statement:

    Some of you may consider that comment a little over the top; but still, it's a long way from the outrageous statement which it has been depicted as.

    Another troubling aspect is that even if one does consider his comment reprehensible, it's an opinion. Purely aside from the fact that he has a right to it -- just as anyone has a right to disagree with him -- I find it hard to get too upset over, when the cunning and purposeful hosts of hate radio and TV are spewing tons of outright lies every day in an attempt to brainwash people.

    Which is what this seems to be all about, really: another attempt to limit free thought, particularly amongst academia...which only seems to prove Churchill's point. There are "little Goebbels" out there, and they're doing what they can to eliminate dissent.

    Article containing quote of Churchill's comment

    Current news story
     
  2. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #2
    What this guy said isn't what he'll end up getting fired over. If he lied on his resume, and I've also heard rumors that he's lied about service in Vietnam, that will ultimately be what forces him out the door.

    What he said isn't and shouldn't be a fireable offense. Sure it's stupid and uncalled for. You should know better than to try and make your point be comparing everything to the Nazis. That's one of the first lessons you learn on online forums anyway. Godwin's law and all it's corallaries.

    But hasn't O'Reilly called many people communists? Isn't right wing radio filled with comments about how liberals = commies? One is acceptable while the other isn't.

    It's just more right wing political correctness. But wait, I thought only liberals were capable of PC behavior.... :p

    And what do you do about a right wing professor (yes they do exist, and in larger numbers than David Horowitz would lead you to believe) who advocates torture, not for reasons of national security or for deterence of crime, but for vengence against the most severe domestic criminal cases.? He even advocates that the BoR should be amended to allow cruel and unusual punishment in certain cases. Should his position at the university come under fire as well?
     
  3. Lyle macrumors 68000

    Lyle

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    #3
    The CNN story that Thomas linked to also says that there are charges of plagiarism, which I've heard universities frown on.

    It's sort of interesting: if these allegations (i.e. the bits about lying on his resume, and the plagiarism stuff) are true, they probably do constitute valid reasons for the guy losing his job. That is, if you or I were a university professor and were caught plagiarizing, we'd likely lose our job. But if Churchill hadn't said the things that he's said in his papers and speeches (e.g. the "little Eichmanns" reference), and thus attracted so much attention, it seems unlikely that those violations would ever have been dug up. After all, he did manage to get tenured without anyone ever finding out those things.
     
  4. Thomas Veil thread starter macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

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    #4
    Yeah, but here's something from another story:

    Link

    The plagiarism charge has several problems:

    1. That's not the original reason given for the call for his firing. Tacking it on at this point may be justified (if it's true), but the fact remains that (pseudo-)journalists coast-to-coast do not normally go looking into professors' files for examples of plagiarism. The issue is still driven by right-wing idealogues over something he said, not something he did.
    2. Churchill may (or may not) prove that the plagiarism charges are false. Until then, it's a moot point.
    3. This issue is being flogged primarily by the right, not by mainstream journalists. Look up "Ward Churchill plagiarism" in Google and you'll find mainly right-wing blogs, and very few hard news articles.
    4. It's entirely possible the plagiarism charge is bogus. Karl Rove and his band of thugs created an entirely fraudulent impression of Al Gore as a habitual liar. If they could make that up, and convince a significant portion of the country that it's true, why couldn't they do the same for one nondescript college professor?
    Until somebody can settle those issues, I'm inclined to keep my mind open about him.

    I'm kind of un-American that way.
     
  5. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #5
    Did you feel the same way when the left wing blogs tacked 'gay prostitute' onto Guckert's list of problems?

    The left wing blog-o-sphere was the primary venue for Guckert's expose. Did that make it wrong?
     
  6. Lyle macrumors 68000

    Lyle

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    #6
    I had a nice long-winded response all worked up, but decided to just punt on that. ;)

    I absolutely agree that he's innocent until proven guilty of any of these charges, and you're obviously correct that it's right-wing media sources (including bloggers) that are pushing the story. I would add that even if he is found innocent of those charges at this point, and somehow keeps his job, he's pretty much screwed at this point: this controversy, and the accusations, will be associated with him for the rest of his career.

    What wasn't so clear to me was whether you're saying that the fact that it's right-wingers who are making these charges, and pressing the issue, somehow absolves him. What I mean is, if he is in fact guilty of plagiarism or lying on his resume, whatever, does it matter how he got caught? Would he be somehow "legitimately" guilty if Dan Rather came up with the goods, but less so if it were Bill O'Reilly who did?
     
  7. Xtremehkr macrumors 68000

    Xtremehkr

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    #7
    The Jeff Gannon saga is factually supported. Can that be said of what is happening to Ward Churchill?

    If the attacks on Ward Churchill were factually based there would be no argument. I think that is what is being said. Yet, the hard evidence is missing, but the accusations are still being flung. Hence my inclination to treat these accusations as simple character assassination through biased media and internet outlets.
     
  8. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #8
    In the early days of the Gannon expose it was all rumor and accusations too... those tend to come before facts. I'm all for giving Churchill a fair shake, I just don't think it's fair to say that because the right wing bloggers are the ones driving this that it's an unfair attack.

    And the right claims the attacks on Gannon are character assasination through biased media and internet outlets. Yes, the facts came out in support of the left-wing bloggers there. Are you confident that Churchill is clean?
     
  9. Thomas Veil thread starter macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

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    #9
    I'm saying consider the source.

    The left-wing bloggers got it right on Gannon/Guckert, just as the right-wing bloggers got it right on Memogate.

    But by and large, too much of the right-wing internet content is repetition of baloney like Whitewater, Vince Foster's "suicide", Al Gore's "lies", Kerry's "fake" war record, etc., or contorted excuses for or repetitions of the Administration's own lies. Consequently, I'm disinclined to believe, without proof, what these folks say.
     
  10. Xtremehkr macrumors 68000

    Xtremehkr

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    #10
    From experience, left wing bloggers from sites like DailyKos (Atrios, AmericaBlog and many others), have a much higher standard of proof and legitimacy than do many right wing bloggers who simply take and repeat accusations.

    Gannon was investigated for lobbing softball questions. The result of that investigation is what we have today, anything that was not confirmed was presented as such. When there was confirmation the evidence was presented.

    As "Jim Hitler" described it, the reliable bloggers are obsessed with "facts."

    So, I am not sure by what you mean when you say "rumors and accusations," unless you have some specific sites in mind. The evidence of plagerism has been a long time coming. To me, it would seem to be easy evidence to produce, wouldn't it?

    It is ridiculous how much attention this story is getting compared to the Gannon fiasco. I mean, look at what has already been established about Gannon. Non story though, Republicans are not good defensively and have instead decided to focus attention elsewhere by making this guy public enemy number one, and will no doubt crow triumphantly if they do get his job.

    Meanwhile, the Bush administration continues to release government produced propaganda as news and we are expected to believe that this guy is more important that all of that. What is important is making sure that this guy is not a victim of political witchhunting, while focusing on stories that actually matter to our Democracy.
     
  11. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #11
    I don't know anything factually about the Ward Churchill plagiarism charge, but I do know that making this kind of accusation is one of the most reliable ways of wounding an academic, or anyone else who relies heavily upon the work of others for their own writing. It's almost impossible to write lengthly academic papers or books without making some kind of error or omission of attribution, footnoting or quoting. It's nearly inevitable that something will be paraphrased more closely to the original work than it ought to have been. Nearly anyone who's written extensively over the course of their lives can be fingered for plagiarism, if somebody has a mind to fine-tooth comb through their work. Except in the most egregious cases, it's often cheap shot taken for reasons that have nothing whatsoever to do with the maintenance of academic standards.

    Which brings me to Ward Churchill. I don't think anybody on the Right has any particular interest in one, obscure college professor. He's being strung up for another, and in my opinion even more sinister, reason. He's a left-wing "type," and they want them all silenced, so the right wing political correctness cops are making an example of him. Let that be a lesson to all of us.
     
  12. Xtremehkr macrumors 68000

    Xtremehkr

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    #12
    Good point IJ Reilly, the Republicans have not been very subtle about their desire to make College Professors keep their mouths shut, they are even trying to legislate it.
     

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