Hard to believe

If something seems wrong, it likely is wrong. A guest columnist, writing in a local paper, complained about historian Heather Cox Richardson. He wrote “her blanket condemnation (of white American evangelicals) is dishonest partisan demagoguery.”

Heather Cox Richardson is a prominent Historian. I have read some of her writing, which I found honest, forthright, and responsible. This made me wonder to the guest columnist had a valid point. So I checked.

Did Richardson really write “white evangelicals have a Holocaust mentality and despise multiculturalism” on April 17th? She did not. The word Holocaust occurs once in Richardson’s April 17th post in another context and “mentality” never. Did Richardson really write “white evangelicals despise multiculturalism?” She did not. “Multiculturalism” occurs once in this context:

Hungary’s Viktor Orbán, an ally of Putin’s, has been open about his determination to replace the multiculturalism at the heart of democracy with Christian culture, stop the immigration that he believes undermines Hungarian culture, and reject “adaptable family models” for “the Christian family model.”

Did Richardson write that “white evangelicals are intolerant? She did not. “Intolerant” occurs nowhere in her April 17th post.

If something seems dubious, one had better check. It likely is wrong.

About whungerford

* Contributor at NewNY23rd.com where we discuss the politics, economics, and events of the New New York 23rd Congressional District (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, (Eastern) Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben,Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates Counties) Please visit and comment on whatever strikes your fancy.
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15 Responses to Hard to believe

  1. Dancer says:

    Sadly the desire and\or ability to verify information is lacking in far too many of our fellow Americans! Either they willing misrepresent truth or appear uninterested in learning it. Many have an alternative reason for promoting misinformation. We find ourselves in this pathetic situation of having to fight for our DEMOCRACY all over again😡. VERIFY👍😱

    Liked by 1 person

  2. whungerford says:

    Thanks for your comment, Dancer; I agree.

    Like

  3. josephurban says:

    Right wingers frequently lie about what others have said or written.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. whungerford says:

    I was struck by the statements put in quotation marks as if they were written by HCR. Also by the whataboutism in the guest editorial.

    Like

  5. Anne says:

    HCR makes everyone smarter (total fangirl here). But I guess you have to actually read her to reap the rewards.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. bkgrif says:

    I read HC Richardson’s email every day that she posts, and find her letters incredibly informative and not particularly biased. She tells it like it is. I suspect that might be why the right wing is offended.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. whungerford says:

    Thanks for your comment, Anne. In retrospect, I think this paragraph from HCR’s April 17th post got the guest columnist’s goat:

    Karaganov’s statement says a lot about why white evangelicals in the U.S. are willing to toss democracy overboard in favor of a one-party state dominated by one powerful leader. They deny the premise of a system in which all people are equal before the law and have the right to have a say in their government.

    He may have taken it personally.

    Like

  8. Arthur Ahrens says:

    Here are my difficulties with this post:

    The alleged guest columnist is not identified.
    The article s/he allegedly wrote in an alleged local paper is not identified.
    The local paper where the article allegedly appeared is not identified.
    The alleged columnist has words attributed to him/her, which are alleged to have appeared in his / her article.
    Is the alleged article a Letter to the Editor, an OP-ED, or something else?
    Given the lack of verifiable information, it is impossible for an interested party to investigate and verify facts for themself.

    Now, to the comments…
    “Sadly the desire and\or ability to verify information is lacking in far too many of our fellow Americans! “ I couldn’t agree more. No one here seems to be concerned that the allegations in this post cannot be verified.

    “Right wingers frequently lie about what others have said or written ” The left has its share of people who engage in this behavior, too.

    “I was struck by the statements put in quotation marks as if they were written by HCR. Also by the whataboutism in the guest editorial. “ What statements??? Ah…it is a guest editorial. One small piece of information surfaces.

    “He may have taken it personally. ” Ah, so it is a man. Another small piece of information surfaces.

    It is Hard to Believe that a post decrying misinformation should make it so difficult to verify their position.

    Like

  9. whungerford says:

    The guest editorial was written by Mark Winheld, an Endwell resident. It appeared in “The Elmira Star Gazette” on May 8, 2022. Unless you are a subscriber, I don’t believe it can be read on-line. Here is an example of Mr. Winheld’s writing which I did find:
    https://www.pressconnects.com/story/opinion/2016/05/11/guest-viewpoint-climate-law/84238486/

    Like

  10. Arthur Ahrens says:

    Whungerford, Thank you for the citation info.

    More problems–with the following statements…
    1st statement:
    “He wrote ‘her blanket condemnation (of white American evangelicals) is dishonest partisan demagoguery.’

    Then another one:
    “Did Richardson really write ‘white evangelicals have a Holocaust mentality and despise multiculturalism’ on April 17th?”

    Still another:
    “Did Richardson really write ‘white evangelicals despise multiculturalism?’ “

    One more for luck:
    “Did Richardson write that ‘white evangelicals are intolerant?’ “

    The 4 statements have been presented as evidence of Mark Winheld’s views and supposed….dishonesty (?) .

    Each statement is presented without any sort of context, and it is impossible to evaluate those statements without the context. One should remember that such cherry picking is a basic tool of propagandists everywhere.

    It may be that Whungerford is absolutely correct in his evaluation of Winheld’s article. Or he may be dead wrong. Or maybe only partially correct. Which is it? I don’t know. But I’m not going to jump the gun about Mr. Winheld and Mr. Winheld’s views on one person’s sayso.

    There are a couple of Mr. Winheld’s Op-Eds available for review. I found them with only a cursory search. I don’t agree with everything that he says in these pieces, but he seems well intentioned and reasonable. I’d have to say that the difficulty in finding his writings indicates that he publishes very infrequently, although he seems to have a background in journalism.

    The statement, “He may have taken it personally. ” makes me particularly uncomfortable. Is that some sort of suggestion of a connection between white evangelicals and Mr. Winheld? Or attributing certain political beliefs to Mr. Winheld? Either way, this very very Trump-like statement provides intimation, insinuation, implication and innuendo in the place of any sort of supporting evidence.

    I can’t accept the assertions in this post at face value. I’m not sure if I would use the word dubious, but questionable will certainly serve. I’ll take the advice given and do some checking. Pretty sure the Penn Yan library will have Star Gazettes. I’m going to take some time and investigate and do some verification.

    Watch this space for updates!

    FULL DISCLOSURE; Up till today I had absolutely no idea that a man named Mark Winheld even existed. I still have no idea about his beliefs, writings, family, church or anything. Since his latest op-ed provoked such a strong reaction, perhaps others here can offer some background.

    Like

  11. annieasksyou says:

    Good for doing your fact-checking, whungerford. I am another HC Richardson devotee, and I find her careful and yes—biased: toward democracy, truth, and historical accuracy.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Arthur Ahrens says:

    Who knew? The Penn Yan Public Library has severely limited its periodical section. Going to plan b…

    Like

  13. Arthur ahrens says:

    I’ve reached the end of the line.

    The library doesn’t have copies. The Star-Gazette doesn’t provide back issues.

    Maybe I’ll call the author…..

    Like

  14. whungerford says:

    Arthur, I mailed you the article today.

    Like

  15. arthur ahrens says:

    I have received a copy of the article from Mr. Winheld and Mr. Hungerford.
    I’ve reviewed the original Richardson piece, Mr. Winheld’s piece and Mr. Hungerford’s piece.
    I’ve sent the following, contained in a somewhat lengthy letter to Mr. Winheld, and I would like to share it here.
    “In my humble opinion, Mr. Hungerford has the right of it. I couldn’t find the statements that you attributed to her in her piece, and your paraphrases were misleading.”

    All in all, I found this a profitable exercise and a chance to exercise some neurons which were atrophying.

    Like

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