Former NY Times Writer Smears David Horowitz in New Book

More 'journalistic malpractice'

Former New York Times writer David K. Shipler's new book Freedom of Speech: Mightier Than the Sword contains a chapter called "Protocols of the Elders of Islam," partially excerpted in The New Yorker, in which Shipler claims that a key Muslim Brotherhood strategy document is a fake. In an article at PJ Media, national security and terrorism journalist Patrick Poole, an expert on the Brotherhood in America, condemns Shipler's argument as "journalistic malpractice" and impressively deconstructs it. But Shipler's take on the Brotherhood document isn't the only instance of journalistic malpractice in the book.

Elsewhere in Freedom of Speech, Shipler refers to David Horowitz, founder of TruthRevolt's parent organization the Horowitz Freedom Center, as someone who "made his name by drawing up lists of 'most dangerous' liberal professors on various campuses and trying to mobilize alumni and students to have them ousted or censored."

"This is all fiction," Horowitz responded to TruthRevolt in an email:

The first principles of my academic bill of rights are that professors can't be hired or fired, promoted or demoted because their political views. I have never ever called for the firing or censoring of professors for their political views.

I have never published lists of professors. I did publish a book about 100 professors who used their classrooms for political agendas and taught subjects outside their realm of expertise but in that book I explicitly defended the right of professors to express their professional views on the subjects of their expertise as the sine qua non of academic freedom. I even publicly defended [controversial activist and former Univ. of Colorado professor] Ward Churchill on the grounds that you can't fire a professor because of a political article they wrote.

Far from pressing for the ouster or censorship of left-leaning professors, Horowitz is the creator of the Academic Bill of Rights, a set of principles and procedures "to secure the intellectual independence of faculty and students and to protect the principle of intellectual diversity." It stresses not censorship but the "indispensable values" of academic freedom and intellectual plurality. The Bill of Rights is reprinted in part below to set Shipler's false claim straight:

1. All faculty shall be hired, fired, promoted and granted tenure on the basis of their competence and appropriate knowledge in the field of their expertise and, in the humanities, the social sciences, and the arts, with a view toward fostering a plurality of methodologies and perspectives. No faculty shall be hired or fired or denied promotion or tenure on the basis of his or her political or religious beliefs.

2. No faculty member will be excluded from tenure, search and hiring committees on the basis of their political or religious beliefs.

3. Students will be graded solely on the basis of their reasoned answers and appropriate knowledge of the subjects and disciplines they study, not on the basis of their political or religious beliefs.

4. Curricula and reading lists in the humanities and social sciences should reflect the uncertainty and unsettled character of all human knowledge in these areas by providing students with dissenting sources and viewpoints where appropriate. While teachers are and should be free to pursue their own findings and perspectives in presenting their views, they should consider and make their students aware of other viewpoints. Academic disciplines should welcome a diversity of approaches to unsettled questions.

5. Exposing students to the spectrum of significant scholarly viewpoints on the subjects examined in their courses is a major responsibility of faculty. Faculty will not use their courses for the purpose of political, ideological, religious or anti-religious indoctrination.

6. Selection of speakers, allocation of funds for speakers programs and other student activities will observe the principles of academic freedom and promote intellectual pluralism.

7. An environment conducive to the civil exchange of ideas being an essential component of a free university, the obstruction of invited campus speakers, destruction of campus literature or other effort to obstruct this exchange will not be tolerated.

8. Knowledge advances when individual scholars are left free to reach their own conclusions about which methods, facts, and theories have been validated by research. Academic institutions and professional societies formed to advance knowledge within an area of research, maintain the integrity of the research process, and organize the professional lives of related researchers serve as indispensable venues within which scholars circulate research findings and debate their interpretation. To perform these functions adequately, academic institutions and professional societies should maintain a posture of organizational neutrality with respect to the substantive disagreements that divide researchers on questions within, or outside, their fields of inquiry.