"Censoring Irving Would Make the Nazis Proud"

"University of Chicago free press", May 1996
Published: 1996-11-01

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When I saw the above headline to an opinion piece in the free press, a University of Chicago student monthly tabloid, my attention became fixed. Written by one Orloff Potemkin, it was the only such piece I had (or have) seen from the campus press. The columnist was not identified as a student or member of the faculty. I suspect he is faculty. The column was an expression of impatience with St. Martin's Press for having reneged on its contract to publish David Irving's biography of Goebbels this last spring.

Potemkin’s final paragraph read: “Censoring ideas we don’t agree with is a start on that road [the road to fascism], and we should not be proud of ourselves for beginning the trip.” Fascism, in the context of liberal-think, is a synonym for right-wing bigotry and intolerance. Left-wing bigotry and intolerance is called anti-fascist, and is good. The free press pulled another quote from Potemkin’s text and boxed it:

“Even a fascist should be able to speak his mind in a democratic society.”

I liked what I read. If the fp was open to fascist writings, it might be open to controversial writings that are not fascist. What should I do? A supporter in Illinois had the right idea. He would fund an ad in the free press offering David Irving's Goebbels for sale. At the same time the ad would announce the Internet address for CODOHWeb. where we have other short pieces by Irving, as well as a small library of related materials on the Holocaust controversy.

We worked up a three-column by 10-inch ad, quoting from Irving’s many admirers among first-rank historians and sent it on to the University of Chicago free press. The ad didn't mention “Holocaust" or “gas chambers." This was an ad for a history book. Of course, the book, and more directly, the Internet address for CODOHWeb would lead interested parties directly to the Holocaust controversy.

We waited enthusiastically, without high expectations. I'm an enthusiastic guy but I’m not particularly innocent.

I would give the free press the benefit of the doubt. The University of Chicago is not exactly a hot spot for freedom of the press in America. The editorial stance of the UC papers is anti-fascist, that is, intolerant of those who it disagrees with on social or cultural issues. My last small encounter at UC was last fall when I submitted an ad to the Chicago Maroon that simply announced the Internet address of CODOHWeb. As a rejection slip I received an unsigned scrawl reading "we will not run your ad.”

The display ad we worked out to run in the free press was headlined:

JOSEPH GOEBBELS:

Mastermind of the Third Reich

by David Irving.

CENSORED IN AMERICA

the lead being followed with quotes extolling Irving as an historian by Gordon A. Graig, Norman Stone, A.J.P. Taylor, John Keegan and so on.

A couple day's before the November issue of the free press was to be printed I received an e-mail communication from John Wilson, one of the editors at the paper. “Dear Mr. Smith: I regret to inform you that the University of Chicago free press has decided not to accept your ad. However, we are doing a story on the matter and I have a few questions I wanted to ask you....”

I supposed they were, indeed, going to do a “story” on the matter. I didn’t respond. I was curious as to the reasons why a “free press” would not run an ad for a history book by a major historian. I figured I already knew why. It would be the usual intolerance of intellectual freedom that one expects from the press at U. of Chicago. I figured the article the fp was working on would tell me more or less what the editors would be willing to tell me so why spend the time talking to them? Giving interviews to professional anti-fascists is about as productive as giving interviews to professional Zionists.

When the November issue of the free press came out there they were, two full-page stories reacting to merely the submission of an advertisement for a history book. One, titled “David Irving: ‘Historian’ for Hitler,” written by Mr. Wilson, is about 68 column inches and includes photos of Goebbels and the dust jacket Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, The Complete Book.

The article is introduced by asking: “Is David Irving a legitimate historian or a Holocaust denier? The answer may be both.” It then goes on to slander Irving without let for the rest of the article. It includes much information that is new to me and which may or may not be true. It discusses the censorship problems Irving has had in various countries around the world. Wilson writes, however, “It is far more important to point out the lies spread by anti-Semites like Bradley Smith and David Irving, then to try to prohibit them from speaking.”

Which lies? Professional anti-fascists do not feel compelled to demonstrate their charges of King are true. Such charges alone have worked very well for them for many decades. It's worked for the professors, and it's worked for media. Why fix the program if it isn't broken? Wilson notes that the University of Chicago library had “pre-ordered” a copy of Goebbels. The anti-fascists don't have to worry about it now. St Martin's won't publish the book, the fp won’t run an ad for the English edition of the book, and all is well for anti-fascist culture at the University of Chicago.

The second article in the fp is headlined “Here Come the Nazis,” which is another full-page article by fp editor John Wilson, this time about Bradley Smith. Wilson gives the background to the Campus Project, which he obviously doesn’t know very much about. He quotes from the ads I did run, and writes that I stopped running them in “April 94.”

The truth is, at least seventeen colleges and universities ran my ad “A Revisionist Challenge to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum" in the 1994/1995 academic year, including State U. of New York at Binghamton, Loyola C. at Baltimore, Northeastern U. at Boston, U. Tennessee at Chattanooga, U. Missouri at Rolla, U. Nebraska at Kearney and U. of New Orleans. But then Wilson also writes that I am co-founder of the Institute for Historical Review (I can see Willis Carto now, who was co-founder of IHR with David McCalden, whirling like a dervish at his desk), so there you have it for reportorial excellence at the University of Chicago free press.

Wilson refers to something of profound significance for professional journalists, no matter what the roots of their intolerance. “The key problem with Smith’s ad is not its content, but the ultimate goal: to promote Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism.” That is, journalists should not judge a piece of writing by its content, but by the "motives” ascribed to its author by the anti-fascist cultural elites who manage the universities and manipulate the media. Imagining motive rather than judging content is easy work for students when they can get it, and they can always get it when some aspect of the Holocaust story is questioned.

Further on Wilson writes: “...the free press, after all, does not normally interrogate its advertisers to find out if they hold offensive views. But there is a difference...” There is always a difference for the anti-fascists. The difference is always political. I don’t want to nail a student for behaving in a manner taught to him through example by his elders, his professors, and his media and political heroes. He’s a helpless cog in the cultural whirl in which he exists. The faculty at the University of Chicago is something else, however. It needs to be nailed for supinely allowing and even supporting this kind of intolerance.

Wilson quotes Chicago professor Peter Novick saying that the best approach is to “ignore Smith.” Jeffrey Ross of the Anti-Defamation League saying "Bradley Smith must be taken seriously...,” and Elie Wiesel as having said that such people as Smith are “morally sick.” Imagine the burden a young man must carry when these are the men and the kind of men he looks to for intellectual and spiritual guidance. Imagine if I had given John Wilson a long, detailed, intimate interview. His imagination might have burst.

Wilson, slyly, doesn’t tell us where he got his background on Irving or myself. He didn't get it from original sources. He didn't get it through independent research. I can tell by the kinds of careless (stupidly purposeful) errors made in his text. Wilson doesn’t want to let it out that he got his background from Zionist propaganda agencies. Wilson doesn't have a clue as to what my “lies” are, or what his errors of fact are. He’s all politics.

Anti-Fascists too often do not understand that it is intolerance that is at issue, not the intolerance practiced by “Fascists.” What's the point in struggling to rid the world of Fascist intolerance when, if you're successful, you will be left with the intolerance of the anti-Fascists?

(If you would like to help fund the publication of this advertisement for Irving's Goebbels, I'll fax or mail the ad to you for your perusal. The cost for each publication will average $200 to $400 each.)


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Author(s): Bradley R. Smith
Title: "Censoring Irving Would Make the Nazis Proud", "University of Chicago free press", May 1996
Sources: Smith's Report, no. 37, November 1996, pp. 2f.
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Published: 1996-11-01
First posted on CODOH: Oct. 2, 2015, 2:24 a.m.
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