Saturday, October 01, 2005

A message to my fellow conservative bloggers: Get it right. Updated

In my wanderings this morning, I read a quick blurb over at Michelle Malkin's about an article in the Wall Street Journal's Opinion Journal regarding Debra Burlingame. Burlingame is the wife of the pilot of American Airlines flight 11 which was rammed into the Pentagon on 9/11. The article is an excellent one speaking of Burlingame's dogged opposition to the IFC that was planned for the Ground Zero memorial in New York. (Note: the IFC has been removed from the site at the direction of Gov. Pataki. The management of the IFC demonstated conclusively that their entire aim in proposing the IFC was to hijack the Ground Zero memorial site by almost immediately shutting down and disolving the project.)

In reading the article, however, I was caught by a blaring mistake. Here it is:

::::::::The Take Back the Memorial Movement's best-known voice--and certainly the most articulate critic of the Freedom Center--is Ms. Burlingame, who started it all on these pages in early June, when she wrote an op-ed essay titled "The Great Ground Zero Heist." In it, she made public the Freedom Center's determination to build a memorial that "stubbornly refuses to acknowledge" 9/11.

"Rather than a respectful tribute to our individual and collective loss," she wrote, "[we] will get a slanted history lesson, a didactic lecture on the meaning of liberty in a post-9/11 world . . . [and] a heaping foreign policy discussion over the greater meaning of Abu Ghraib and what it portends for the country and the rest of the world." She also asked whether it was seemly for the Freedom Center's advisory board to include members who had said that "the only true heroes are those who find ways to defeat the U.S. military" (Columbia's Eric Foner); pushed for the center to highlight how 9/11 had led to the curtailment of civil liberties (the ACLU's Anthony Romero); and led a world-wide "Stop Torture Now" campaign focused on the U.S. military (Michael Posner, of Human Rights First).

Emphasis mine. OK, before I proceed I need to make clear that I agree with Burlingame's assessment of the board members' suitability. They consisted almost entirely of left-wing representatives who have publicly stated their opposition to various US endeavors and have been involved in, frankly, baldface lies about how the US is conducting the war on terror. Eric Foner is such an advocate for communism and the former Soviet system that he's been dubbed "Eric the Red" by Columbia students. He most assuredly, however, did not make the comment attributed to him in this article. The piece of work who spat out this raw sewage was Columbia's Nicholas De Genova, he of the infamous "million Mogadishu's" comment. In fact, the comment quoted in this story was the 1st part of the "million Mogadhisu's" line.

When Genova threw his on-stage tantrum, he was part of a "teach-in" at Columbia that was organized by several faculty members at Columbia, one of which was Eric Foner. Within a few days of that event, I actually wrote to Eric Foner to ask him if Genova's comments were part of the scheduled show and to inquire as to Foner's part in all this. Foner wrote back - initially with some trepidation, understandably - that he was one of the organizers and Genova was a last-minute addition to the speakers' list. His comments were not vetted in advance and shocked Foner as much as anyone. Foner and the rest of the organizers were, frankly, the most injured parties in the whole affair since every single moment of their preparation and every single word of their speeches were lost completely into the howling abyss of Genova's hateful bile. I said as much to him at the time.

Foner and I would not agree on much, philosophically or politically. But he needs to have this kind of misattribution lifted from him. I urge my fellow bloggers to get it right.

Update: I wrote this blog entry immediately after sending in a response to Opinion Journal detailing the incorrect attribution. I note now that the article has been edited and the correction noted at the bottom. Good show, guys!