February 7, 2005

Apparently, he will fight them on the shores, he will fight them on the streets .


Embattled author Ward Churchill continues to be savaged relentlessly by the far right, especially from the empire of Rupert Murdoch, where Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity have kept a steady and vicious attack underway for days on Churchill, his various publishers and his employer the University of Colorado, and in editorials such as this commentary from Murdoch’s New York Post. Churchill hasn’t been immune to attacks from the left, either, such as this commentary on CommonDreams.org from Guerilla News Network editor Anthony Lappè, who calls Churchill’s comments “reprehensible” (and which commentary itself drew criticism from the left in this rebuttal from Joshua Frank on PressAction.com). In a commentary in Churchill’s hometown newspaper the Boulder Daily Camera, meanwhile, Todd Neff protests that “the public uproar surrounding [Churchill’s] more inflammatory statements has obscured Churchill’s intended message.” That’s essentially what Churchill himself says in his first interview since the University voted last Thursday to investigate his writings and also issued an apology for his comments. “It’s ridiculous,” Churchill says of the apology in his discussion with Charlie Brennan of the Denver Rocky Mountain News. “CU didn’t say it, so what are they apologizing for? The fact that I’m there? Well . . . you know . . . ” Then, Brennan reports, “with a guffaw,” Churchill added, “They’re entitled to their free speech.” So is Churchill, says another RMN report. Reporter Karen Abbott says “Legal experts on free speech in the academic workplace are betting that Ward Churchill’s job is safe — at least against attempts to oust him because of his opinions.”

Dennis Johnson is the founder of MobyLives, and the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House. Follow him at @mobylives