"Setting The Record Straight" Annual Update
by Cinnamon Stillwell • Dec 22, 2008 at 5:50 pm
In December 2007, we alerted readers to a new Campus-Watch.org feature called Setting The Record Straight. The section (which can be accessed by passing one's mouse over the "About Campus Watch" category in the left-hand tab and clicking on "Setting The Record Straight") is designed to correct false accusations made against Campus Watch. As we explained at the time:
Campus Watch readers are no doubt familiar with the numerous smears, false allegations, and hysterical accusations leveled against us by our opponents. Frequent charges of "McCarthyism," "censorship," "silencing professors," and "threats to academic freedom" are hurled at Campus Watch by those unaccustomed to the rigors of simple criticism. The hermetically sealed world of academia lends itself to this paranoid mindset and its ideologically sympathetic defenders have adopted a similar approach.
This attitude is even more prevalent in the field of Middle East studies, which was thrust into the spotlight after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 and, more often than not, found wanting. Middle East studies academics are none too pleased at the justifiable criticism that has resulted. But instead of addressing the politicization, shoddy scholarship, and apologetics at the heart of the matter, those on the receiving end of Campus Watch's critiques tend to go on the attack, as do their allies. And truth is the first casualty.
In the past year, there's been no shortage of opportunities for corrections and as promised, another update follows. Descriptions and links for each correction are listed below:
David Hirsh, writing for Engage, claims Campus Watch called for a boycott against Al Quds University president Sari Nusseibeh. The problem is it never happened.
During a Democracy Now! interview, American Conservative reporter Kelley Beaucar Vlahos pulls the "pro-Israel" card.
Another American Conservative contributor, Texas A&M University professor Michael C. Desch, mischaracterizes Campus Watch in an effort to demonize Middle East Forum director Daniel Pipes.
Franklin P. Lamb and Ann El Koury of the Atlantic Free Press accuse Campus Watch of adhering to what they call "the Likudnik-Zionist doctrinal framing of the Middle East." Along the way, they make an additional error or two, but who's counting?
ConWebBlog incorrectly describes Campus Watch as a "conservative-funded website that attacks liberal college professors."
In a style befitting the publication's overheated rhetoric, Jamal Najjab, writing for the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, creates an imaginary affiliation between Campus Watch and Stand With Us.
Campus Watch director Winfield Myers' letter to the editor of the Chronicle of Higher Education regarding an article by University of Virginia professor emeritus of law Robert M. O'Neil. Like many of his peers, O'Neil believes that Campus Watch's critiques of Middle East studies are tantamount to suppressing "academic freedom."
Hassan Nafaa of Al-Ahram Weekly (Cairo) claims "US schools are becoming a major focal point for the Zionist movement" and along the way, makes a host of false and ludicrous allegations against Campus Watch.
St. Xavier University history professor Peter Kirstein, writing at his blog, allows his fixation with Campus Watch to get the better of him, again. This time, he ascribes an article to Middle East Forum director Daniel Pipes that was, in fact, written by Campus Watch West Coast representative Cinnamon Stillwell.
Sherman De Brosse, writing at the Forward America blog, accuses Campus Watch of being part of a concerted effort to "plant conservatism on campuses."
Blogger Richard Silverstein, writing for The Guardian (U.K.), charges Campus Watch and other organizations with being "anti-Arab." When all else fails, resort to accusations of bigotry.
Abukar Arman, writing for Global Politician, conflates the positions of Campus Watch and other critics of politicized scholarship and agitprop in Middle East studies with those of terrorists.
In a Middle East Online article condemning critics of then recently-tenured Barnard College anthropologist Nadia Abu El-Haj, Morgan Strong erroneously accuses Campus Watch and Middle East Forum director Daniel Pipes of attacking El-Haj.
Campus Watch director Winfield Myers' letter to the editor of The Nation regarding an Eric Alterman article accusing Campus Watch of hatching a scheme to – you guessed it – deny tenure to Nadia Abu El-Haj.
Eric Alterman responds with his own letter to the editor, in which he fails utterly to address Myers' complaints.
Echoing a common misapprehension, Fawaz Turki, writing for the Gulf News, accuses Campus Watch and Middle East Forum director Daniel Pipes of persecuting academics who are critical of Israel.
Linda Mamoun, writing for The American Muslim, uses the occasion of Israel's 60th anniversary to accuse Campus Watch and other organizations of being part of an imaginary cabal.
The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs produces yet another paranoid diatribe about Campus Watch, this time by James G. Abourezk, who makes a host of errors. Fact-checker alert!
In a blog post celebrating the demise of the "Anti-Racist Blog," which ceased operating on March 22, 2008, Paul Abowd, brother of radical Wayne State University anthropology professor Thomas Abowd, insults Campus Watch and alludes to a nefarious "cross-listing" that doesn't exist.
Asher Smith, a sophomore at Emory University writing for The Emory Wheel, relies upon the most hackneyed, shop-worn cliche of the left to attack Campus Watch: associating contemporary critics of higher education with McCarthyism.
In a Guardian (U.K.) article celebrating a recent study purporting to demonstrate that left-wing professors have no influence on their students' political views, Joanna Walters manages to make three factual errors about Campus Watch.
Beth Slovic, writing for Willamette Week (Portland, Oregon), commits an all-too-common mistake in claiming that Campus Watch is affiliated with David Horowitz.
Steve Rendall and Isabel Macdonald, writing, ironically, for FAIR: Fairness in Accuracy and Reporting, make the tired claim that Campus Watch is "anti-Muslim," along with erroneously asserting that we "operate out of David Horowitz's Freedom Center." Wrong again.
In a Pipe Dream (SUNY-Binghamton) op-ed, Ali Rasoulinejad resorts to the usual "Israel lobby" conspiracy theories regarding Campus Watch.
In yet another instance of erroneous attribution, Danish Middle East studies scholar Sune Haugbolle, writing for CUMITet: Cophenhagen University Middle East and Islam Network, mistakenly claims that Campus Watch is the creation of Martin Kramer. And that's just the beginning.
In a breathless apologia for the New York City public school Khalil Gibran International Academy, Seth Wessler, writing for Colorlines: The National News Magazine on Race and Politics, makes erroneous and unfounded assertions against Campus Watch and Middle East Forum director Daniel Pipes.
Obviously, it's been a busy year of corrections for Campus Watch! No doubt, 2009 will bring more of the same, so stay tuned.
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