The Marty Peretz Situation

Marty Peretz: Twilight of the Bigot

I’ve been mulling over writing something about “the Marty Peretz situation” (as it has been called at Harvard University). The occasion for the current controversy is that there are plans to endow a research fund in Peretz’s name at Harvard. Many people, both at Harvard and elsewhere, are justifiably upset about these plans because Peretz has a long history of making bigoted comments about Muslims (exemplified by his recent statement, later retracted, that Muslims didn’t deserve First Amendment Rights) as well as equally heinous comments about various racial and ethnic groups (notably African-Americans and Hispanics).

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Guilt by Publication

Over at the Atlantic Monthly website, Jeffrey Goldberg is ragging Glenn Greenwald for the sin of publishing in the American Conservative. Goldberg’s argument, not spelled out explicitly but vaguely smeared by implication, seems to go like this: the American Conservative was founded by Pat Buchanan, a well-known anti-Semite; by publishing in TAC Greenwald is making common cause with Jew haters.

Greenwald is a skilled polemicist, more than able to take care of himself. He quite rightly  describes Goldberg as using a “guilt by association” technique. I would call it a “guilt by publication” argument.

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