The New Republic’s Attack on Human Rights Watch

by Kevin Jon Heller

David Bernstein calls me out today for “blogging not a word” about The New Republic‘s recent attack on Human Rights Watch’s coverage of Israel.  He also claims that “HRW has not responded” and that “it’s almost as if ‘headquarters’ has sent out word to ignore the TNR piece in the hopes it will go away.”  I’ll oblige Bernstein with a comment — namely, to point out that, contrary to his claim, a member of HRW’s board has responded.  In fact, the response was published in The New Republic itself and linked to in the article attacking HRW (with the ambiguous description “HRW’s response”).

It doesn’t take many words to demonstrate the shocking inaccuracy of Bernstein’s coverage of HRW, does it?

P.S. I note with amusement that Noah Pollak has written almost exactly the same post as Bernstein at Commentary, entitled “The Sound of Silence” instead of “The Sound of Crickets Chirping.”  (To his credit, Pollak at least doesn’t falsely claim that HRW hasn’t responded to TNR’s attack.)  To paraphrase Bernstein, I’m not given to conspiratorial thinking, but it’s almost as if “headquarters” has sent out word to try to read something conspiratorial into HRW’s refusal to respond to critics who routinely misrepresent its work.

P.P.S. That was quick.  Bernstein has updated his post to acknowledge HRW’s response.  He doesn’t bother to indicate, though, beyond placing the new text in ambiguous brackets, that his original post was inaccurate.

3 Responses

  1. I take it that the distinction between “Human Rights Watch responded” and “a board member of Human Rights Watch responded” is beyond you?

    But inquiring minds want to know: did HRW leadership ask you not to respond on your blog?

  2. Grammarian,

    I don’t communicate with “HRW leadership” — and it’s a pretty stupid question, given that I did respond on my blog.

    As for your snide first comment, I guess the distinction is beyond The New Republic, as well — after all, as I noted in the post, its article described the letter as “HRW’s response.”  Is the idea that I was simply quoting the article, not offering my own characterization, beyond you?

  3. Eh, it’s typical Bernstein. He’s a dead weight on VC.

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