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The Stanford Review is an independent conservative student newspaper. Its editor, Mike Toth, writes that there is little interest in the discussion of ideas among Stanford students. He ridicules the intellectual content of the Stanford Daily, the primary student newspaper at Stanford, by noting that the “big issue on campus now [at the Daily] is the poor service provided by the U.S. Post Office.”
Toth’s second example of intellectual lethargy among Stanford students is that only one letter was received by the Daily after it published an advertisement from an “anti-Semitic organization that seeks open debate on the Holocaust” Toth felt he really must do something about this, so he assigned one of his reporters to call Jeffrey Ross, Director of Campus Higher Education Affairs for the Anti-Defamation League, to get the story behind the story on the ad, on CODOH and on Bradley Smith.
The Review starts off by quoting Jeff Ross to the effect that Smith is nothing more than “Someone who makes his living by peddling hatred ... has no historical credentials ... and [untrue!] never even finished high school.” Ross then “warns” the Review that Smith nevertheless “is very sophisticated ...” One wonders how many Review readers might think to ask themselves why they should plug along at Stanford for six or eight years if John C. Fremont High School in South Central Los Angeles was turning out sophisticates like Smith.
Ross directed the reporter to the ADL’s Web page, which is produced to defame Smith and the rest of us who are taking revisionist theory to the people. There the Review reporter finds, surprisingly, that when Smith says he is “simply seeking to ‘encourage intellectual freedom and let the chips fall where they may ... he is masking a profound anti-Semitism
The Review, of course, buys all this. No objective question is asked about the text of the ad, no statement made by the ADL agent is challenged, no reporter talks to Smith after he talks to Ross. Why? It occurs to me that maybe students—liberal and conservative alike—are taught to revere the Jewish holocaust story the way Hindu kids are taught to revere cows. If you’re a kid growing up in a Hindu hovel, for example, and one day it occurs to you that a cow may just be a cow, you’re in deep dung. Same way if you’re a kid at Stanford. If it occurs to you for only a nano-second that a good part of the Jewish holocaust story resembles a Hindu cow—in that a number of its ingredients appear to have the makings of a “whopper,”—and this fresh insight gets out to the True Cow believers, your career is going to be sucking wind (that’s how we South Central high school dropouts talk). Most of the kids understand this. All faculty understands it.
Meanwhile, the Georgia State University Senate, a “cross section of the entire Georgia State University community... comprising students, faculty, staff and administrators took the trouble to pass a resolution that “categorically rejects the position ... that the Holocaust did not take place....”
For the first time in the three years since its student newspaper began running ads questioning whether the Holocaust actually happened, a cross-section of the entire Georgia State University community this week condemned the advertisements and the group paying for them. (Atlanta Journal Constitution, 19 Dec 1999).
Why did the GSU Senate pass the resolution? The University Senate “hopes to pressure the student newspaper, the Signal, to stop running ads provided by the Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust, based in San Diego.” Who said loyalty oaths were dead? “I pledge allegiance to the Holocaust story as the Anti-Defamation League defines it and....”
Signal editor Jennifer Smith (it’s not all in the family) has been a rock of character in the face of repeated attempts to have her betray the ideal of a free press or to be pressured in any other way. Unlike the GSU faculty and administration and the usual outside groups, Jennifer Smith is able to observe that “the CODOH ad calls for the debate of some issues,” and does not “deny” the entire stew that makes up the H. story.
The $250K ad ran in The Broadside at George Mason U (Virginia) on 16 November. Marion F. Deshmukh, who teaches modern German history, modem European history, the history of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust (enough is enough), is critical of the ad because it suggests that “Jewish organizations have muzzled attempts by CODOH to hold ‘open’ debates on the issue ... This claim, too, is patently false. The fact is that over the past 25 years, many college campuses, public forum (sic), and other venues have held debates.” The J-C reporter didn’t think to ask the professor which of those 25 years of debates included one revisionist.
Likewise [the professor writes], there is now not only evidence that the diary of Anne Frank exists, but a recent biography of the young girl hidden in Holland before being taken away to [an] extermination camp reveals that she likely wrote two versions.
At least two, eh? The 250K ad does not suggest in the ad that the diary does not “exist,” but that it appears to be a “literary concoction.” As a matter of fact. I’d be willing to bet that over the last 25 years there have been more versions of the diary published than there have been debates on the Holocaust—with or without revisionists.
Which brings back to mind the insightful little ADL agent, Jeffrey Ross. He told the Stanford Review that Stanford is “the first major campus newspaper that has run this ad [the $250K challenge to debate the ADL] ... mostly second and third rate institutions have run it.”
Aside from the question of whether Georgia State and George Mason (and the California Institute of Technology) and others are second or even third rate universities, what is Ross saying about the young men and women who edit the student newspapers at these campuses? Second and third rate people editing second and third rate student newspapers, for second and third rate student bodies.
But is Jennifer Smith at GSU a second or third rate editor because she can differentiate between what the text of our ads actually say and the cow flop (good grief—the sacred cow theme yet again!) her faculty tries to tell her it says? Is Stephanie Ogilvie at the Broadside a second-rater? Not in my book. In my book Ogilvie stands head and skirt above little Jeff Ross. This is how Ogilvie responds to the pressure from faculty at George Mason and outside special interest groups. What could be classier? (See “Editor’s Note” on this page.)
My decision to run the CODOH ad in the Nov. 16 edition was not a hasty one. After much thought, I decided to print it for several reasons.
First, the ad was not libelous, malicious or seditious.
This does not mean Broadside supports the view expressed in the advertisement. None of our ads could ever represent our opinions nor should they.
Second, I firmly believe a student newspaper’s role is to provide a forum for debate—an appropriate medium for the “marketplace of ideas” at this university. Even if some of those ideas are unpopular or unpleasant.
Please understand Broadside is not here to shelter our readers from unpopular opinions or rhetoric.
I would hope the GMU community would be intelligent enough to critically analyze any perspective presented in an article, editorial or advertisement.
Third, I believe this is a free speech issue. We use the First Amendment to print what we want within the laws of the student press. How dare I restrict that right if I don’t agree with it? Who has the right to decide what is and is not protected by the First Amendment? Where do we draw the line?
Finally, if you disagree with any opinion, I urge you to write a letter to the editor and express your views because you have that right. And so does CODOH.
Nevertheless, I think it wise to listen to those who believe I am their enemy, or who have some reason to just not like me. Nobody is wrong about everything, not even our ADL agents. When Jeff talks about second and third rate universities I am reminded that while the “Ivy League” papers ran my ads promoting open debate on the Holocaust controversy and my challenge to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, one by one they have dropped out. Fewer of them ran our $50,000 Offer to find a way to have our video on Auschwitz shown on network TV, and, as Jeff says, only Stanford of the “elite” universities ran our $250K Offer to facilitate a debate between CODOH and ADL on network TV.
With Jeff's help, then—two heads being better than one (to coin yet another memorable phrase)—Smith has gotten two new ideas-for-the-week. The first is very simple. We are photocopying the full article as it appeared in the Stanford Review headlined “ADL Responds to the Daily Ad.” We are sending it to each of the editors of those campus papers (not forgetting the Marysville [CA] Appeal-Democrat just to keep its editor up to snuff on what’s going on) with a cover letter. The cover points out the contempt in which the ADL holds campus editors who decide to stand with the ideals of a free press and open debate rather than the institutional censorship encouraged by the ADL and other like special interest groups.
The second idea is related to a more ambitious project which is well past the planning stage but which we are revealing for the first time in this issue of SR. We are going to publish a 16-page revisionist tabloid, print it on newsprint just like your daily newspaper or the New York Review of Books, fill it with the kind of revisionist scholarship, news, and exposes that are familiar to informed revisionists but absolutely unknown to college students. Every article, every expose will be fully documented so that any young scholar will be able to judge for himself the value of this stunning information he has in his hands. A lot of thought has gone into this publication, this is only the barest outline, and I think you are going to like the result. Yet it isn’t the publication of the tabloid that is at the core of the project.
The heart of the project lies in how the tabloid will be distributed. I am going to use it as an “insert” for campus newspapers. With this “ad,” for that is what it is, we will not illustrate which questions need to be addressed, we will pose those questions and answer them in full. For the first time students will have revisionist answers as well as revisionist questions. Now we are going to show students what the Holocaust controversy is really all about.
Five thousand students, say, receive our tabloid as an insert in their campus newspaper. A level of joy and excitement (and perhaps a few other emotions) will wash across the campus in a matter of hours. The next week 5,000 students on a second campus will experience the same joy and wonder. And then another 5,000 on a third campus and so on and on—for as many campuses as I can raise enough money to print, and find enough editors to insert, the tabloid.
And we will offer the tabloid insert to Jeffrey Ross’s “Ivy League” papers as well as his second and third rate campuses. When Ivy Leaguers see the quality of the material we are submitting, they may screw up their courage, convince each other it’s time to get their ideals back on track, and give the okay for the first distribution of a sober, informative, and lively revisionist publication ever to take place on their hallowed grounds. I know it sounds like a difficult project to pull off. But I am going to do everything I can to make them an offer they can’t refuse. We’ll see what we see.
Another observation I have made, this time without the help of little Jeffrey Ross, is that a large majority of the campus papers that have run the $250K ad are women. The editors who ran the ads at Cal Tech; George Mason; Georgia State; Indiana U-South Bend; Kent State; Loyola U at New Orleans; Marquette; SUNY Plattsburgh; U Maine; U Vermont; and the Universities of Wisconsin at Green Bay, Oshkosh and Stout—and that is not the complete list—are all young women. I’m not certain what the significance of this is. But among those editors who have been most forthright in their defense of a free press, and have expressed themselves most openly on the matter, the majority have been women.
Before World War I, when my mother was a little girl living in Santa Monica, California, the Stephanie Ogilvies and the Jennifer Smiths would hardly have been editors of their campus newspapers. And when they got out in the great world, they would not have been allowed to vote. If they had had that franchise, would Woodrow Wilson have been elected? I don’t know. But if he had not been, would that have changed the history of World War I—and thus the history of the 20th century? And if it had, would Jeffrey Ross and Bradley Smith ever have heard of each other?
I don’t think so.
Additional information about this document
|Author(s):||Bradley R. Smith|
|Sources:||Smith's Report, no. 61, January 1999, pp. 2-4|
|First posted on CODOH:||Nov. 19, 2015, 10 a.m.|