A Controversy with Legs

Goebbels Available from IHR
Published: 1996-07-01

The Irving/Goebbels/St. Martin's affair just won't die. Two months after Thomas McCormack, CEO of St. Martin's Press, announced that his company would not honor its contract and publish David Irving's massive, exhaustively researched biography of Hitler's propaganda chief (see SR #31), this signal episode in America's lengthy postwar history of de facto censorship of revisionist scholars continues to make news and attract comment.

In early June, eight weeks after St. Martin's craven cancellation, Richard Cohen, whose columns for the Washington Post and in syndication impeccably express their author's usually predictable (left-liberal, multi-culti, suburban Jewish) opinions in sometimes unpredictable ways, came out foursquare and forthright for freedom, not just to speak, but to publish and to read.

Cohen, unlike many of Irving's critics, has actually bothered to read Goebbels (of course, the other critics could complain, like a double parricide who wails that he's an orphan, that the book wasn't available). He doesn't like it much (“...it is fetid with repellent judgments and characterizations...”), but agrees with Christopher Hitchens (see SR #33) that: “This book is worth reading.”

More important, Cohen goes on to point out that Irving's book, which has become the subject of controversy in the pages of America's leading newspapers and magazines, “has effectively been banned in the United States. Whatever its merits or faults, you have been deprived of the right to judge for yourself.”

A potentially bigger story than the Cohen column was a tantalizing tidbit that ran in the New York Post's “Page Six” gossip column. The item recounted a strange story regarding an apparent mole in PEN (Poets, Essayists, and Novelists). Now, PEN is that assemblage of cowardly literary lions which claims to oppose censorship, and indeed emits many a roar against Third World tyrannies, but has never spoken or written a syllable condemning repression of revisionist scholarship in North America and Europe. Self-censoring anti-censorship: nice work if you can get it—and the blue-pencilers from the Holocaust biz have!

But now there's a fly in the ointment, or a mole in the hole. Someone at PEN, possibly a writer him or herself (and very possibly fortified with information from CODOH's Web site), has anonymously released confidential documents allegedly embarrassing to PEN (the Post was delphic about their content), and more important, in an accompanying letter blasted the group for its silence on the Irving affair: “PEN did not say a word. That's their main job-defending us against censorship.” Who is it? What's his agenda? What financial irregularities do the documents reveal? We're working on all these—in SR #35 we'll let you know what we've learned.

In response to PEN's shadowy whistleblower on Goebbels, Siobhan Dowd, head of the group's Freedom-to-Write Committee, responded cagily—and hypocritically: “It is the government practicing 'censorship’ that we oppose. A publisher's refusal to publish constitutes a different issue.”

Strange words from a representative of the drawingroom Marxists who populate PEN; stranger still when the case involves a publisher and its employees being Mau-Maued into breaking a contract with a bestselling historian of international standing. And, for those of us who are neither authors, publishers, or literary agents, does PEN perchance have a Freedom-to-Read Committee?

In the coming months, in the pages of SOR as well as in SR and elsewhere, CODOH will sharpen its focus on the dereliction of those professional and self-consecrated anticensorship groups which have ignored, if not abetted, the savage persecution of revisionists in supposed liberal democracies such as France, Germany and Canada, and countenanced the sneaky business of effectively prohibiting the publication, distribution and advertisement of revisionist literature in the U.S. We've got lots on our plate already—if we're going to have to do the professed work of PEN, Amnesty International and other pampered self-congratulators as well, you can bet we'll make them feel the heat.

The British edition of Goebbels, Mastermind of the Third Reich, published by Irving’s own Focal Point press, has arrived in America and is available for sale ($49.50) from the Institute for Historical Review, POB 2739, Newport Beach CA, 92659. (Tel: 1.714.631.1491.)

Additional information about this document
Property Value
Author(s): Bradley R. Smith
Title: A Controversy with Legs, Goebbels Available from IHR
Sources: Smith's Report, no. 34, July 1996, pp. 6f.
Published: 1996-07-01
First posted on CODOH: Sept. 26, 2015, 5:54 a.m.
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