Thursday, November 18, 2010

Guttenplan fires back

This comment from D.D. Guttenplan deserves to be placed prominently, so here it is in its own post. Readers have left comments strongly supporting Guttenplan, and you can read those in situ, along with some encouraging me. They are all thoughtful and nuanced.

Dear Jason Rush,

As anyone who has read my book The Holocaust on Trial would know, I am not a fan of British libel laws. But your inaccurate, intemperate, and frankly defamatory response to my article on academic rankings in the International Herald Tribune almost makes me see their point. For the record: I did not "lift" or "steal" your story. I do my own reporting, as anyone less self-involved might have noticed from the number of sources named and cited in my article. As one of your commentators has correctly deduced, I was reporting a story on rankings, and was naturally delighted to discover a blog called "University Ranking Watch" where I came across the critique of THE--and which I credit fully in my article. (Which by the way ought to disabuse you of your notion that we Real Journalists--your capitals-- are somehow prejudiced against bloggers. However one thing any real journalist could tell you is that newspaper reporters don't write our own headlines. We do, however, try very hard to verify our information before going into print. If your forensic skills were as good as you seem to think they are you might have discovered that Ann Mroz quote on the University of Alexandria's web site, which is where I found it.

In the course of reporting my story I did come across your web site. But since I was writing about university rankings and the methodology behind them, not about the worth (or lack of worth) of any individual's publications (something I'm not qualified to judge in any case) the material didn't really seem relevant.

It is you who ought to apologize--to me, to the International Herald Tribune, and most of all to your readers. If some journalists remain dismissive of bloggers this episode offers a vivid illustration of why that skepticism might have some basis in reality.

Posts about D.D. Guttenplan:

Translate English to Arabic
محمد النشائى El Naschie Watch محمد النشائي El Naschie News محمد النشائى محمد النشائي All El Naschie All The Time محمد النشائى


  1. It is true that this reporter unfortunately has his own issues, and writes as though he is swatting some nuisance insect, turning this into an uninspiring smackdown between the unnecessarily petulant journalist and the unnecessarily belligerent blogger.

    Perhaps had he not been so anxious wondering about the status of his next writing gig, he would have written a much more effective message along these lines:

    Dear Jason,

    I fully understand your concerns about my article, and even more fully appreciate your singleminded dedication to all things El Naschie.

    While I would have enjoyed writing an article that went into greater detail about this fascinating back story, my editors had unfortunately assigned to me an article with a much narrower focus.

    And while I had originally writen "identified on one blog and then on various other blogs", my editors insisted this was redundant by their style standards, since it goes without saying that things appear in one place and then are picked up by others, so they forced me to shorten that critical sentence to the regrettably telegraphic "identified on various blogs".

    I am very happy for this opportunity to express once again to you my admiration for your valient and selfless scholarly detective work, and wish you continued success in your many endeavors.

    Thank you as well for your interest in my work.
    You might also enjoy reading my book "The Holocaust on Trial", in which I go into further detail about our shared concerns with British libel law.

    Best regards,

  2. That is a masterpiece of droll humor. My eyes are welling up with tears of appreciation.