captions added by this website]|
Updated at 15:23 on March 18, 2005,
by C-Span's plans to air alleged
WASHINGTON (AP) - Historians
piqued at C-Span's plans to air a speech by a
British historian who has challenged the extent of
the Holocaust have petitioned the non-profit
network to cancel the project.
The petition, sent to Connie Doebele, the
executive producer of C-Span who slated the
coverage, disputed the notion that showing David
Irving's speech would add "balance" to a
program that featured a lecture by Deborah
Lipstadt, professor of Holocaust Studies at Emory
"Falsifiers of history cannot 'balance'
historians," said the petition signed by more than
200 historians in the United States and other
countries and sent to C-Span this week. "Falsehoods
cannot 'balance' the truth."
Irving, the author of nearly 30 books, including
War, took Lipstadt to court, suing her for
libel for calling him a Holocaust denier. The
lawsuit was dismissed in 2000 by the British court,
which said that Irving was anti-Semitic and racist
and he misrepresented historical information.
Lipstadt was to promote her book about the case,
History on Trial: My Day in Court With David
Irving, on C-Span's weekend program, Book TV, in
C-Span spokeswoman Peggy Keegan said in
an e-mail message:
"Book TV was interested in Deborah
Lipstadt's new book about her British libel
trial. Our interest in covering David Irving was
to hear the plaintiff's story of the trial.
Since Professor Lipstadt has closed her book
discussions to our cameras, we are still
discussing how to cover this book and we don't
have an immediate timetable."
Lipstadt said when she realized Irving was to
get air time, too, she contacted C-Span and someone
there explained his side would add 'balance.' She
has declined to go on C-Span if Irving is in the
"What balance was there? There was a tsunami;
there wasn't a tsunami?" she said Friday. "That's
fuzzy thinking of the worst kind. It's an absence
of critical thinking."
"It's not a personal issue against (Irving). You
just don't debate whether the Holocaust happened.
That's like debating whether the Earth is
Rafael Medoff, director of the David S.
Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, which
circulated the petition, said concern about
Irving's appearance on C-Span spread like wildfire
among historians and social scientists. More than
200 of them had signed the petition within 48
"Holocaust denials are being treated by C-Span
as a legitimate alternative viewpoint when in fact
it is a falsification of history," he said. "When
you're speaking about indisputable historical
facts, there is no other side. There's no
"It is nothing more than bigotry disguised as an
interpretation of history," he said.The Canadian Press,
Index to the
media scandal surrounding Prof Lipstadt's
attempt to silence C-Span and the history