Sunday, March 06, 2005

Hyman Recants . . . Sort of

Some of you might have noticed that the most recent viewer mail segment of "The Point" featured yours truly.

Recently, the transcript of the "Point" that smeared a number of university faculty and suggested that I though plagiarism was just fine and dandy disappeared from the website. In the latest of his weekly "mailbag" sessions, Mark Hyman read a number of comments about that particular editorial, including a statement by me that the quotation he attributes to me was something I neither said nor wrote. Hyman said afterward that The Point "regrets the error."

Of course, it wasn't an error at all. I was singled out not because of any burning concern over academic integrity. It was because I've been a critic of "The Point" (and, in particular, because of a brief interview I did on "Ring of Fire" on Air America days earlier). Hyman and Co. wanted to embarass me, and got caught in a lie. I'm sure it was the legal folks at Sinclair who made the decision that they had better take down the transcript. I also let them know that I expected an on air retraction, and my guess is the Sinclair legal eagles had to tell Hyman he had to suck it up and pretend that he was sorry. (By the way, for those of you who've enquired, I did pass along the text of Hyman's editorial to the General Counsel's office at the University of Iowa. They aren't likely to do anything in the near future on this, but they're keeping an eye on it.)

But keep in mind that I was not the only target of Hyman. As Media Matters pointed out, several other faculty members had their words and work twisted beyond recognition to fit Hyman's stereotype of "failures in higher academia."

Also note that Hyman did not acknowledge that the quotation attributed to me was wildly out of context and in fact was saying quite the opposite of what he claimed it was saying.

And of course, Hyman didn't mention the fact that the whole reason he bothered to mention me in the first placel was because of this blog.

Like the kid with his hand in the proverbial cookie jar, Hyman "regrets" getting caught, not what he did. The ironic thing is that of all the untruths that have come out of Hyman's mouth, something as relatively trivial as this would be retracted. Far more damning are the scurrilous charges made about public figures, accusing them of much darker deeds than being a softy on plagiarism (e.g., suggesting Peter Jennings and Ted Koppel hate U.S. troops and seem to support terrorists, insinuating that John Kerry committed a war crime by murdering a wounded teenager, etc.).

One hopes that Hyman will eventually reap the rhetorical whirlwind for all of this. Karma, as they say, is a bitch. In the meantime, we'll take this tiny victory as a foretaste of what's to come.

Oh, and since you're such a stickler for getting the facts right, Mark, it's the "University of Iowa," not "Iowa University." I'm sure you regret the error. Go Hawks!

And that's The Counterpoint


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