Little Green Footballs

Monday, November 28, 2005


A recent entry at LGF had these words:

“Churchill is a despicable character, and a hero of the “progressive” movement. Coincidence?”

I've been wondering about this claim of a strong connection between Ward Churchill and progressives. I hadn't heard of him before the wingnuts started to make a stink about his 2001 paper on 9-11 but I don't exactly have a good feel for the entire progressive movement in America.

I decided to do a little search work and see what liberals/leftists/progressives think about Ward Churchill. I used the online EBSCO database of magazines and searched liberal/left/progressive publications, using the "All Text" option, for mentions of "Ward Churchill."

I started with The Nation and the earliest reference to WC is 2/21/2005:

Title: Ward Churchill and the Mad Dogs of the Right ,
By: Cockburn, Alexander,
Nation, 00278378,
Vol. 280,
Issue 7

This was in response to the wingnut witch hunt of an obscure college professor, so I don't think we can conclude that The Nation considers WC a "hero", instead he is more like a victim. More to the point, until 2005 there is no mention of the 2001 WC article that caused so much bleeding at the ears at LGF and other places.

For the sake of comparison, I decided to use another professor - Noam Chomsky - who can legitimately be considered a hero of progressives, as a point of comparison. Chomsky of course has been around much longer than WC, so to be fair, I decided to limit my search to the last 16 years, 1990-2005. Even so, Chomsky wins hands down: 119 articles mention Noam to a mere 5 for WC, all after the witch hunt began.

Of course, The Nation isn't the only progressive publication so I checked a few others: Mother Jones, New York Review of Books, Harper's Magazine, Tikkun and Utne had no articles that mentioned WC. For Chomsky, the total number of articles was 23*. The Atlantic Monthly, Utne Reader, and Progressive had a total of 7 articles that mention WC but they were all about his work on Native American Indians. Chomsky's number for those same magazines is 75.

One would think that if WC was such a hero to progressives, especially for his 9-11 article, there would be many, many more articles that mention him approvingly.

*Two articles in NYRB dealt with linguistics and were excluded.

1 comment:

Benjamin said...

Excellent work.

Not that LGF will let mere trifles like facts/research/empiricism get in the way of a smear.