Notebook
Published: 1998-09-01

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While the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has always been a bother, and more than a bother, it never occurred to me to try to go head-to-head with it. The ADL has played the major role in limiting CODOH’s access to the campus press. It’s a corrupting, censorious influence on public dialogue generally, not just with respect to revisionism. Still, it is an organization of such size, wealth, and influence that the idea that I could challenge it head on, effectively, did not occur to me. It did, however, occur to someone else.

I don’t have the personal resources to make a $250,000 offer, or any offer whatever, but one supporter has.

She’s willing to put her modest wealth on the line. For eight years her word has been her bond. She wants to see the debate happen. She doesn’t think she will, but she wants to. She believes that if we can open this one can of worms that the ADL has been sitting on for half a century (there’s an ugly image for you) to a focused national television audience for ninety minutes, that it could be the most productive revisionist milestone reached in America in the last twenty years.

There are endless ways to write such an ad. It’s not a science; it’s an art. If it works, it’s good art; if not, not. Good art in this case will be finding some (now) unknown individual to convince a TV network to sell such a program to its advertisers. It must be written in such a way that, in the political context of this age, the press will run it. And it has to be a text that will make a difference, as a text in and of itself, when students and others read it. We worked for thirty days (and nights) on the text. I did well over 20 drafts. It may not look like it. It’s not supposed to. We worked very quietly, almost secretly. We felt we were working on a big idea. We didn’t want anyone to get wind of what we were doing, particularly the ADL.

When we finished developing the text as you see it reproduced in this issue of SR, and decided on the first six newspapers to send it to, we got a big surprise. While we had been working away secretly to up the ante on the ADL, the ADL had been making its own decision to raise the stakes for the Campus Project, Smith, and CODOHWeb. They published a broadside against us on their own Web site. It’s not a piece in an ADL newsletter aimed only at ADL supporters. It’s not a column in a Jewish newspaper for Jewish readers. It’s not a few words in an interview given to a college or local newspaper denouncing a specific CODOH ad in a specific place. The ADL has decided that it is not enough to do mailings to thousands-sands of college presidents and student-dent editors urging them to censor CODOH ads.

The ADL, with its $30-40 million annual budget, decided the game is slipping away from them. Now it needs to go “head-to-head” against CODOH and Smith, and it has to do so in the widest public forum available to it—the World Wide Web. Another dead giveaway about the growing influence of the Campus Project is the ADL’s unwillingness to address the existence and content of CODOHWeb itself. That’s where our power is. It’s not the text of the ads that has forced the ADL out of its hole, but the simple expedient of placing the Internet address of CODOHWeb at the end of each ad~ . It’s no longer a matter of offering readers only leaflets and letters to the editor, both of which remain very useful. It’s the vast repository of revisionist research and discussion free(!) to anyone who signs on to CODOHWeb that has brought ADL to up the ante.

So the ADL upped the ante on us before we upped the ante on the ADL. They beat us to it, but what a sweet irony there is in that! CODOH has everything to win and nothing to lose in this face-off. ADL has nothing it can win and everything to lose, the first being sole access to its own readers. On the Web, ADL is forced, by the nature of the medium, to begin to share its audience with us! Anyone anywhere in the world who reads the ADL page about CODOH can tap in our name on their computer and be with us in about one minute. The revisionist tail has begun to wag the bloated exterminationist cur.

The $250,000 Offer will be on the desk of the advertising managers of five student newspapers by the time you have this issue of SR in your hands.

The fax-by-email program that we are going to use to broadcast press releases and other materials, and that I announced in the last issue of SR was ready to go, has not gone yet. There was a bottleneck some-place and it took me too long to admit what it was. The bottleneck was me. I had time, several times over, to start working out the program, but I never had time to finish working it out. By the time I would get back to it I had forgotten what it was I had worked out.

Richard Widmann, CODOH-Web’s managing editor, suggested we identify someone who is computer savvy and ask him to take on the job. He suggested John Weir, who has been providing an extensive Internet clipping service for a wide variety of interested Web sites, including CODOHWeb. I called Weir and sounded him out. He saw the value of the project immediately. He’s already working at it. I smell success. I expect that within days we will be using press releases, sent by email but rereceived as faxes, to help tie together the Campus Project, CODOHWeb, Smith’s Report, and the media generally.

Received a letter from a reader asking why I do not have a “stock account,” a way to accept donations of stock. He wrote that he has some that he would like to donate, and that he is certain there are others who would prefer to contribute stock than cash to the project. It had never occurred to me. My level of sophistication with regard to business is not all I would like it to be. I contacted another SR reader who knows about these things and asked him if it’s a good idea. “Of course it’s a good idea,” he said. He also said it is easy to do, so after I close out this issue of SR—I'll do it.

Attended a luncheon given by Russ Granata on the occasion of his 75th birthday. Russ is responsible for Carlo Mattogno’s fastidious work being published in English. Now Russ is planning to set up his own site on the World Wide Web, which, in addition to publishing new documents on revisionism, will include the first-ever Holocaust revisionist on-line bookstore, drawing on materials from every available source. A daunting project, perhaps, but Russ got a good dose of daunting during the Pacific war when his carrier, the U.S.S. San Jacinto, drew the attention of Japanese kamikaze. Now, half a century later, ruddy cheeked and energetic, he doesn’t appear daunted by much.

I had expected to see a lot of old friends there, libertarians and revisionists from ten years ago when I was still in Los Angeles. As it happens, Russ has his own life and when I arrived at his hilltop house I didn’t know anyone other than him. I found a rambling house from which I could see across all of Los Angeles, including South Central where I grew up, to the San Bernardino Mountains on the east side of the basin. I found a brick patio covered by an arbor and under it tables where German men and women were drinking wine and champagne, eating, laughing and telling stories and singing Italian and German songs to the accompaniment of a live accordionist. At length the talk turned to politics.

America came under the gun for having no leaders. I argued against the idea that Americans need great leaders. America stands on the ideal of liberty, not on a tradition of being led. This great, even exalted ideal is what makes us a beacon of light for every other people on earth—though not for their leaders. Our leaders have always betrayed our one great ideal: Lincoln, Roosevelt, Wilson, and Roosevelt again, and all the wee people with the big guns who have followed. They have not only betrayed the ideal of liberty for Americans but for all the peoples against which they have pitted Americans.

Liberty doesn’t need a great leader to light its path. To paraphrase American radical A.J. Muste—there is no path to liberty. Liberty is the path.


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Author(s): Bradley R. Smith
Title: Notebook
Sources: Smith's Report, no. 57, September 1998, pp. 2f.
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Published: 1998-09-01
First posted on CODOH: Oct. 28, 2015, 4:57 a.m.
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