The article by Jon Elliston, "Dueling Rebs" [Aug. 21], hit a new low in muckraking journalism. What begins as an analysis of the internal politics of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) after the election of national officers at the Memphis convention, Aug. 1-4, 2002, suddenly turns into a piling on character assassination, guilt by association, and attack by innuendo of North Carolina Division public information officer, Dr. Boyd Cathey.
Dr. Cathey has been a close personal friend of mine for over 11 years. He is the trusted and able lieutenant commander of the SCV camp I have the honor to command. By no means is he "bigoted" or an "anti-Semite." Your characterizations are the worst kind of guilt by association. Yes, Dr. Cathey did write for The Southern Partisan and was a member of its editorial board up until 1999/2000. He wrote about such horribly right-wing topics as Randolph Scott's movies, Robert Lewis Dabney's theological approach to Southern history, Russell Kirk's gothic horror stories, and other such "extremist" topics!! Even Mr. Elliston admits that Dr. Cathey's articles were "milder fare." Your attempt to blacken his reputation is reminiscent of the worst excesses of McCarthyism. Thus, if you wrote for The Nation magazine in the 1930s and'40s, and The Nation defended Joe Stalin, you must have been a Communist! Guilt by association!
Dr. Cathey has served on the editorial board of The Journal of Historical Review, but he does not write for that magazine. Concerning the Holocaust, the Journal has published authors of all opinions: for instance the columnist Joe Sobran (former senior editor of the National Review who has specifically stated that he accepts the Holocaust as fact. What is troubling is that your writer Elliston had no comment from Dr. Cathey at all about his views on this topic, or for that matter, any other topic. He just assumed the worst.
What is even more unethical about the Elliston article is his use of Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center to implicitly threaten Dr. Cathey's job and professional livelihood. You should be thoroughly ashamed to engage is such low-down "yellow" journalism. It's one thing to attack a man's principles (even if, as in this case, you don't really know them), but quite something else to go after his very livelihood.
Finally, The Independent owes it to its readers to tell them what may be the real reason for this article. A couple of disgruntled SCV members peddled this material at the Memphis convention, and even contacted our new commander J. Bryan Carawan. They can't stand it that they are now out of power here in North Carolina. So now they want to "get" our new public information officer and are using your magazine to accomplish it.
TOM SMITH, COMMANDER, CAPITAL BRIGADE, NCSCV COMMANDER, COL. HENRY BURGWYN CAMP, #1485
Great job at exposing those two "racists," Lyons and Cathey. It was quite masterful how you put your spin on the Lyons defeat. He lost, but his supporters really won. That's brilliant! Now, let's see you do a story about the 3,000 in D.C. who were chanting "black power" and demanding money from me for the slaves they never were, and the slaves my family never owned. Or was it land they were wanting for their own state? That sounds a little like segregation to me, doesn't it to you? Also, the next time you interview Potok, ask him how much money he made last year at the SPLC.
M.J. HILLIARD, NASHVILLE
Jon Elliston's "Dueling Rebs" report [Aug. 21] misleadingly portrays the Institute for Historical Review. Contrary to what he claims, our Journal of Historical Review is not a "far right" publication.
Each issue of our Journal, which has been in publication for more than 20 years, tells readers that we uphold and continue the tradition of scholarship of such historians as Harry Elmer Barnes and A.J.P. Taylor, who were known as liberals or even leftists. Over the years, many of our writers and speakers have been "liberal." A speaker at the recent 14th IHR Conference, for example, was Prof. Tony Martin, who teaches African studies at Wellesley College. The banquet speaker at our 13th Conference was former US Congressman Pete McCloskey, whose views are regarded as liberal.
Mention is made in your article of the lecture by Robert Faurisson, a French scholar, at our recent conference. He has, indeed, spoken of "the lie of the alleged Holocaust and the alleged gas chambers." What your readers are not told is that other IHR conference speakers have specifically affirmed the familiar Holocaust extermination story. A good example is John Sack, a liberal Jewish writer who addressed the 13th IHR Conference.
The Institute for Historical Review is recognized by the federal government as a 501(c)(3) public interest educational enterprise. We are proud of the backing we have earned from people of the most diverse political views and racial and ethnic backgrounds.
MARK WEBER, DIRECTOR, INSTITUTE FOR HISTORICAL REVIEW, NEWPORT BEACH, CALIF.
Last week's article by Jon Elliston, "Dueling Rebs," referred to the founder of the Institute of Historical Review as the "late Willis Carto." Carto is, in fact, alive.
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