Ward Churchill: Mission Accomplished

[Note: Mr. Williams has been on vacation.]

In a moment of historical shame that the tissues of rationalization can only obscure for a brief season, the University of Colorado released the following press release yesterday, transparently a lie:

CU Regents Dismiss Ward Churchill
July 24, 2007

BOULDER-The University of Colorado Board of Regents today voted to accept President Hank Brown’s recommendation to dismiss Professor Ward Churchill from the faculty of CU-Boulder for conduct that fell below minimum standards of professional integrity.

The vote concluded nearly two and a half years of an extensive faculty review process to investigate charges of research misconduct against Professor Churchill. More than 20 tenured faculty members from CU and other institutions served on three separate panels. Each panel conducted a thorough review of his work and faculty involved found evidence showing Professor Churchill engaged in research misconduct, and that it required serious sanction.

“The university has an obligation to ensure its faculty’s work is above reproach, said CU President Hank Brown. “Academic freedom requires academic integrity, responsibility and accountability.”

The record of the case shows a pattern of serious, repeated and deliberate research misconduct that fell below the minimum stand of professional integrity, involving fabrication, falsification, improper citation and plagiarism.

The university’s review of Professor Churchill focused on his professional activities, not his statements about victims of September 11, 2001. Professor Churchill, like every United States citizen, has the right to make controversial political statements. Early in the investigation, the
university determined his speech was protected by the First Amendment.

Right. Nothing to do with the witch hunt launched by David Horowitz’ various “foundations” and publications and the Right Wing Smear Machine. The “controversial” political statements whose careful re-casting (a process with which this writer is intimately familiar) led the Governor of Colorado, a significant number of legislators, and a large chunk of the Denver media to scream for Churchill’s head.

Yesterday, they got it. And, aided by the University’s press release, they got it AND they got cover for WHY they got it. Allegedly, “plagiarism,” and we’re shocked, SCHOCKED! to find out that gambling has been going at Rick’s!

Were outright plagiarism a crime, then what are we to make of the 80% of the news that comes STRAIGHT off of press releases* like the one the University of Colorado ginned up to put them in the best light possible?

[* Here’s something that might surprise you: Seventy-five to 80 percent of ALL news comes from press releases and stories that the media gets from businesses and individuals just like you and me! Without press releases and articles, they wouldn’t have much news to print, and they’d be hard-pressed to stay in business.”]

The Ministry of Truth has spoken, and yet, while any five-year-old knows that University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill was fired for that smear, any lawyer, TV commentator and “news” reporter will tell you that this was all about “plagiarism.”

The Ministry of Truth must be pleased.

Here’s what the AP said:

Colorado professor Churchill fired
By Dan Elliott
Associated Press
July 25, 2007

BOULDER, Colo. – The University of Colorado’s governing board on Tuesday fired a professor whose essay likening some Sept. 11 victims to a Nazi leader provoked national outrage and led to an investigation of research misconduct.

Ward Churchill vowed to sue, saying “New game, new game,” after the Board of Regents’ 8-1 vote was announced.

Three faculty committees had accused Churchill, a professor of ethnic studies, of plagiarism, falsification and other misconduct. The research allegations stem from some of Churchill’s other writings, although the investigation began after the controversy over his Sept. 11 essay.

“The decision was really pretty basic,” said university President Hank Brown.

“The individual did not express regret, did not apologize, did not indicate a willingness to refrain from this type of falsification in the future,” Brown said.

Churchill’s essay mentioning Sept. 11 victims and Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann prompted widespread demands for his firing, but university officials concluded it was protected speech under the 1st Amendment.

Brown recommended in May that the regents fire Churchill after faculty committees accused him of misconduct in some of his academic writing.

The essay that thrust Churchill into the national spotlight was titled “Some People Push Back: On the Justice of Roosting Chickens.”

And here’s what Ward Churchill actually said, verbatim, if you were actually curious, since this case is all about what Right Wing Talkers SAY that he said, and not about what he ACTUALLY said.

The “little Eichmanns” statement alludes to a well-known observation on the nature of evil (well-known among the literate, that is):

Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil is a book written by political theorist Hannah Arendt, originally published in 1963. Arendt, a Jew who fled Germany during Hitler’s rise to power, reported on Adolf Eichmann’s trial for The New Yorker. The book Eichmann in Jerusalem is the result of this reportage.

Essentially, Arendt states that aside from a desire for improving his career, Eichmann showed no trace of anti-Semitism or psychological damage. Her subtitle famously referred to the “banality of evil,” and that phrase is used quite abruptly as the final words of the final chapter. In part, at least, the phrase refers to Eichmann’s deportment at the trial, displaying neither guilt nor hatred, claiming he bore no responsibility because he was simply “doing his job” (“He did his duty…; he not only obeyed orders, he also obeyed the law.” p. 135).

Churchill’s allusion to this well-known book and its thesis (and its subtitle) was taken, you might recall, and amplified by the Right Wing Smear Machine so that ALL that is remembered is something about Ward Churchill comparing people in the Twin Towers to Nazis! So much for metaphor. So much for literacy.

The AP Story states:

That essay argued that the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks were a response to a long history of U.S. abuses. Churchill said those killed in the World Trade Center collapse were “a technocratic corps at the very heart of America’s global financial empire” and called them “little Eichmanns.”

Eichmann was top-level Nazi who carried out the Holocaust.

Churchill had been out of the classroom since spring 2006 but remained on the university payroll.

And a firestorm of hatred has been directed in Churchill’s direction ever since 9-12-2001. 2142 days and counting, as I write this. And, even though we haven’t caught up with bin Laden in the 2143 days since Nine-Eleven, they’ve FINALLY managed to nail Ward Churchill, Colorado teacher. Here’s a little souvenir from that odyssey of smear:

Professor Ward Churchill is a Traitor
Thursday, March 03, 2005
By Bill O’Reilly

Professor Ward Churchill is a traitor, in my estimation: that’s the subject of this evening’s “Talking Points Memo”.

… But justifying terrorist attacks on your fellow countrymen? If you do that, you’re a traitor. And Churchill’s doing it. Even Jane Fonda didn’t go that far. And I believe what she did during the Vietnam War was treasonous. Ms. Fonda gave comfort to the enemy and made life more difficult for American POWs and for American soldiers in the field. She also failed to condemn the staggering human rights violations in Vietnam and Cambodia after the U.S. pulled out of Southeast Asia.

But even Fonda didn’t justify the murder of U.S. civilians as Churchill is doing. There’s nothing more I can do regarding this guy Churchill. The man has defined himself and there’s no doubt about where he stands. Now it’s up to the University of Colorado to deal with him.

Clear-thinking Americans have already rejected Churchill’s hatred. And no person should confront the man in any way. Shun him. Don’t insult the freedom Americans have died for by doing anything else.

This story is not about Churchill anymore. It’s about the people who enable him. What say you, University of Colorado?

And that’s “The Memo.”

Well, the University of Colorado has finally said what.

Yesterday it slickly announced Churchill’s formal firing (he was removed from the classroom or any “teaching” position in 2006; the firing was a mere formality, in practical terms). And the counter lawsuit will now go on.

Churchill is rather a prickly sort to defend, but do we really HAVE to have perfect victims to speak out against injustice? Against censorship? Against academic and media intimidation? Is THAT why the Right has been unified in its desire to crucify Ward Churchill for his speech (that “speech” CU explicitly stated Churchill had “the right to make controversial political statements,” even as it slit his throat for those statements)?

But was Ward Churchill really fired for “plagiarism” and other charges? Nobody believes it, except, perhaps, for the Denver media and the CU board of regents.

And all that is remembered, at the end is the careful misreading of Churchill’s essay that was the beginning of this odyssey into the Vindictiveness of the Right Wing Smear Machine. What Churchill himself said was lost a long time ago.

The story is, finally, ONLY about what the Right Wing talk shows SAY that Churchill said, and never about what Churchill himself ACTUALLY said. That is the genius of the smear machine. And the pièce de résistance? The Colorado Regents release a firing statement stating that Churchill is not being fired for the reason that they’re actually firing him.

The concerted campaign to crucify Ward Churchill (paralleled by the David Horowitz campaign to muzzle “leftist” professors on campuses across the land) can be pooh-pooh’ed by our “little Joe McCarthys” as IRRELEVANT, since Churchill was fired for other reasons. See? The CU Press Release says so, right here! Churchill has “has the right to make controversial political statements.” It says so right there, after it says that he’s being fired. But NOT fired for those statements.

Good ghod.

Having been on vacation since Bastille Day, I was gratified to see this piece of “news” that appeared on Tuesday, the day before Churchill’s formal termination:

Methinks Bill O’Reilly Doth Condemn Too Much
Stephen Silver
July 23, 2007

… After Ann Coulter said she “hopes the terrorists kill” John Edwards, Hannity and guest Brent Bozell changed the subject to “liberal hypocrisy” because a liberal blogger named Hart Williams had called for the murder of conservative musician Ted Nugent, and that “no liberal has condemned him.”

Why hadn’t they? Probably because while Ann Coulter is a major media figure who appears on television almost nightly, Hart Williams is an obscure blogger who I’d imagine most liberals had never even heard of. The reason they hadn’t condemned him was because they were simply unaware of him. Perhaps O’Reilly, Hannity and Bozell would be happy if every liberal in the country helpfully issued a list, every morning, of every other liberal he wished to condemn.

What I actually said has vanished from memory entirely. Déjà vu, eh?

And Brutus is an honorable man.


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About Hart Williams

Mr. Williams grew up in Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas and New Mexico. He lived in Hollywood, California for many years. He has been published in The Washington Post, The Kansas City Star, The Santa Fe Sun, The Los Angeles Free Press, Oui Magazine, New West, and many, many more. A published novelist and a filmed screenwriter, Mr. Williams eschews the decadence of Hollywood for the simple, wholesome goodness of the plain, honest people of the land. He enjoys Luis Buñuel documentaries immensely.
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5 Responses to Ward Churchill: Mission Accomplished

  1. Welcome back Hart!

  2. Thanks, Pamela. 🙂

  3. Ginny Cotts says:


    Are you familiar with the work Churchill did? Naturally I am right in the middle of the battle here and have not tried to get a handle on it – too many pots that need handles these days.

    Problem here is that a lot of people who support his right to write the offending piece have actually come out with support for the Regents. Witchhunt or investigation to help defend him from the rabid throng, the group turned up a good history of plagerism, shoddy work and other transgressions that were brought to light because of the baying of the hounds.

    Since I have not looked at the evidence, my question reverts to the semi consensus on the local Air America station this morning. IF the other stuff was not bad enough to fire him, this is clearly a rigged court just trying to unload a liability. Even though the faculty did not reccommend he be fired, some of us are a little sensitive to the quality of teaching and quantity of emotional abuse at the college level of teaching these days.

    Aside from a lot of scientific papers being printed with faulty and fudged data, there is generally a sense of a bigger percentage of professors are not as professional as those of us who are paying the tuition bills would like.

    What is interesting – even if not quite the same, is that one of the other faculty members writes a bi monthly column in the Rocky MTn News . Last year, he was the one
    who got hooked by Kahn who was the Jon Benet killer wannabe. His other work is superb, so despite the fuss from the press, etc. Kahn was let go and the professor stayed on.

  4. Ginny:

    It’s a matter of priorities. Hell, we’ve got a Right Wing Press that utterly despises facts, makes crap up all the time, and manipulates our democracy into dictatorship.

    And you’re upset about Churchill’s supposed sins? That’s the WHOLE damned point. They don’t pick the Simon-pure to attack. They pick humans with feet of clay, and then expect us to point our pert little noses in the air and sniff that had he NOT done the ONE thing, then it wouldn’t be OK. But, because he’s not PERFECT, we allow Torquemada to burn the witch … just this once.

    THERE ARE no humans without dirty secrets and skeletons in their closet. Given enough investigation, they’ll be found. The question here was: WAS SUCH AN INVESTIGATION WARRANTED?

    20 professors. Three committees. Yeah. That happens ALL THE TIME at universities, right?

    The important legal concept here is called: the Poisoned Fruit of the Poisoned Tree.

    The whole investigation would never have taken place, had not they conflated the famous Eichmann BOOK cite with some HORRIBLE Nazi thing Churchill said.

    Hell, the sonofabitch is OBNOXIOUS. You don’t have to tell me that. (Although I have special knowledge about Thomas Mails: His “Hopi Survival Guide” and “Hotevilla” are both major league ripoffs (with one of his collaborators whining on the phone to me that she wasn’t getting her cut of the charitable contributions from the last page of the Survival Guide.)

    And, frankly, I find all this “plagiarism” crap laughable in the extreme. When I was blatantly ripped off in Hollywood in 1985, no one, not professionals, not legal eagles, nor anyone in the press GAVE a damn.

    Plagiarism has been allowed to spread like a plague through the writing world, and it begins to remind me of “journalistic integrity,” which is a phrase — in my experience — ONLY dredged from hoary cliché-dom when a newspaper or magazine has SCREWED UP ROYALLY.

    When this society starts actually sanctioning plagiarists, I’ll be glad to get upset. But meantime, I only have 30 years in the trenches to fall back on, and when somebody actually gives a damn (and not as an excuse for a crucifixion), I’ll give that argument credence.

    NONE of the screamers would ever have READ the works in question, etcetera. So it’s a moot point and a straw man.

    Ward Churchill was persecuted for what he wrote on September 12, 2001. Period. The facts that they waited YEARS to dredge it up (like the Dixie Chicks comment in London) ought to be FINAL proof that this whole tissue of rationalizations and poisoned fruit is about THAT. AND, it’s about intimidating academia, who they are convinced have a “liberal bias.” (Like “reality” to cite Colbert, which is why they try to spend as little time in that location as possible.)

    If you are waiting for a perfect victim to defend, you’d better get a lot of popcorn.

    Meantime, I’d rather stick with the front lines, and defend sonsabitches like Ward Churchill, whether I agree with him or not. (I am sure he’d excoriate me for days for my Hopi investigative reporting.)

    But I would rather stop them at Tinky Winky, than have them kicking my door down.

    Please don’t mistake the strenuous nature of my disagreement as personal attack. I agree with you as a matter of principle, but NOT of priority.

    Better a hundred Ward Churchills than one David Horowitz. Why? Because when the former gets out of control, it’s absurd, foolish and often funny. When the latter gets out of control, it’s frightening, vicious and, ultimately EXTREMELY dangerous.

    Now, perhaps the good Citizens of Colorado can get back to Jon Benét Ramsey.

  5. USpace says:

    Great one! Churchill is total garbage.

    Ward Churchill wasn’t fired for his insane moonbat 9/11 comment. This only put the spotlight on him and people had to investigate, and some extreme things were found which warranted his sacking. Ward Churchill is a fraud, and his upcoming lawsuit against his former employer should serve to educate even more of the public about his insanity and rampant lies and fakery.

    absurd thought –
    God of the Universe says
    waste citizen’s taxes

    hire hateful phony teachers
    feed them BIG bucks and pensions

    absurd thought –
    God of the Universe hates
    nine-eleven victims

    much worse than Bush
    and Hitler combined

    HW Replies: No. Ward Churchill isn’t “total garbage.” And yes, he WAS fired for his comment.

    Everything else is that old legal principle of “The Poisoned Fruit of the Poisoned Tree.”

    Why is that an important concept? Because EVERYONE has skeletons. And, were three separate academic committees of 20 professors under intense political pressure to find ANYTHING that would justify firing to investigate any professor in America, the question is NOT who they would can, but WHO would NOT be found “guilty” of some infraction.

    But methinks you have made up your mind without considering the evidence, and only reading the opinions, which basically says (like your comments, which violate our stated TOS, BTW) not a lot of good things about your judgment processes. “moonbat” and “insanity” are not arguments. They’re the smearspeak of a troll. And they are the tactics of … well.

    Since you brought it up, take a good hard look yourself in the Hitler mirror.

    But be warned: You might not like what you see.

    UPDATE: I have visited USpace’s cited blog. It is a living monument to bad poetry and links throughout the Rightie Blogosmear. As noted above, he/she/it’s a troll.