Accuracy in Media

The
Cold War between the United States and the former Soviet Union is still
being fought, not by unrepentant, unreconstructed anti-communists such
as your servant but by campus leftists born too late to be
collaborators. “In last month’s undergraduate elections, a cadre of
demagogues, in a disgusting publicity stunt, projected the image of a
hammer and sickle onto one of Stanford’s most venerable landmarks:
Hoover Tower,” Jason Dunkel, the business manager of the Stanford Review writes in a June 2008 fundraising letter. “Their platform called for
the detainment of such ‘criminals’ as Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza
Rice as well as the banning of ‘unfriendly corporations [from] campus
unless they withdrawal [sic] their lobbyists’ from Washington.”

“They entitled their slate ‘Revolution!’” Unlike the Japanese on Iwo
Jima who did not know that World War II had ended because they were
hiding in caves on the island, these young firebrands cannot claim to
have been in cavernous hideouts that made transmission of news
difficult.

Nevertheless, the Palo Alto campus, like most college campuses, is one
in which contact with The Real World is limited to turning on that MTV
staple. The level of ignorance among students about the struggle that
took up nearly half of the last century is astounding.

“Ask college students, and I have, how many Stalin killed and you get the answer, ‘thousands,’” Alan Charles Kors of the University of Pennsylvania said of the victims of communism at a seminar dedicated to their memory
at the Heritage Foundation last summer. Ironically, a fairly
conservative young man with a Master’s degree said to me, in reacting
to the notice of that very meeting, “Wouldn’t it have been great to be
the head communist?”

After my article on the event appeared, in
which I laid out the facts on the mass genocide as given by the
speakers, that same youthful scholar asked, “But how many people did
Stalin kill personally?” The problem, of course, stems from academia
and journalism.

Even students trying to be well-informed are relying on academics and
journalists to inform them. Against this backdrop, such worthies should
be venerating those who got it right rather than ignoring or dissing
them outright.

Robert Conquest spent decades estimating a casualty rate amassed from the testimony of
defectors. Most academics denigrated his work, relying on Soviet
government statistics instead.

Few of them volunteered to
carry Conquest on their shoulders when his numbers proved closer to the
actual count than theirs. For this reason, he wanted to retitle the
reissue of one of his books, “I told you so, you f—-g fools,”
according to In Denial by John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr. Veteran journalist M. Stanton Evans would be forgiven for adopting a similar attitude towards his detractors.

First, in National Review, Ron Radosh wrote a review of Evans’ Blacklisted By History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America’s Enemies in which about all the reviewer got right were the title and the
spelling of the author’s name. Interestingly, two of Radosh’s most
famous books were collaborations in which his coauthors were
geographically closer to the information than he was:

• East Coaster Radosh wrote Red Star Over Hollywood with California-based K. Lloyd Billinglsy.

• Radosh also wrote about the Amerasia papers in a book with Klehr. The
Amerasia collection they based their research on was housed at Emory,
where Klehr is.

More recently, the Wall Street Journal tapped former Washington Post reporter Ron Kessler to write a piece on the McCarthy era. The choice of Kessler was a
curious one for a newspaper whose editorial page has historically
prided itself on its high standards.

For instance, he is about
the only reporter in the country to mangle the story of presidential
candidate Barack Obama’s pastor, Jeremiah Wright.
Kessler did so by claiming, without evidence, that Obama was in the
church when Wright delivered one of his most incendiary sermons.

In like fashion, Kessler’s take on McCarthy was also journalistically
challenged. He reproduces factoids from questionable stated sources
that Evans has already proven wrong in his book with primary
information.

Then Kessler backs up this data-base with unnamed sources not
necessarily alive. It would be comforting to crib from the title of a
book from a bygone era and aver that, “None dare call it journalism.”
Unfortunately, the Wall Street Journal does.




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