captions added by this website]|
Saturday, March 19,
C-Span Not to Show Lecture by
MORE than 200 historians and
social scientists have signed
a petition asking
C-Span's Book TV program not to show a lecture by
David Irving, a Holocaust denier, that the
cable station says it scheduled to balance a
planned broadcast of a lecture by Deborah E.
Lipstadt, a professor of modern Jewish and
Holocaust studies at Emory University.
Lipstadt spoke to the Hillel organization at
Harvard University on Wednesday, and the C-Span
program had planned to tape the lecture for
broadcast in conjunction with the release of her
new book, History on Trial: My Day in Court With
David Irving (Ecco).
The book chronicles a
libel lawsuit that was brought by Mr. Irving
against Ms. Lipstadt in Britain after the
publication there of an earlier book of hers,
Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth
and Memory (Free Press, 1993). A judge dismissed
the lawsuit in 2000, exonerating Ms. Lipstadt of
having damaged Mr. Irving's reputation and
criticizing him as a deliberate falsifier of
historical evidence (The Chronicle, April 12,
C-Span decided to broadcast a lecture by Mr.
Irving as well, to give "balance" to the
programming, a Book TV official told a
columnist for The Washington Post. Ms.
Lipstadt subsequently rescinded permission for
C-Span to broadcast her lecture.
In the petition, which takes the form of a
letter to Connie Doebele, executive producer
of Book TV, the
strong opposition to the broadcast of Mr. Irving's
lecture. They also respond to Ms. Doebele's
assertion that balance is at issue.
In the letter, the group equates the need to
balance Ms. Lipstadt's lecture with one by Mr.
Irving to countering a black-history program with
the views of someone who denies that
African-American people were subjected to slavery
in the United States.
The letter was sent to Ms. Doebele on Thursday
morning, according to Rafael Medoff,
director of the David S. Wyman Institute for
Holocaust Studies, which is organizing
the petition. But, he said, more signatures
have been received since then, and he expects
another version of the letter will follow.
Ms. Doebele did not return telephone calls on
It was not clear whether C-Span would proceed
with broadcasting Mr. Irving's lecture in the wake
of Ms. Lipstadt's withdrawal.
The Wyman Institute has posted the
text of the letter on its Web site.
Mr. Irving has posted
his correspondence with C-Span about the matter
on his Web site. In a note dated March 15, after
his lecture was taped, he wrote, "I tried hard to
be balanced in my talk, and refrained of course
from ad hominem attacks on Prof.
Index to the
media scandal surrounding Prof Lipstadt's
attempt to silence C-Span and the history