I take a look at the online magazine Tablet (“A new read on Jewish life”) for Lee Smith’s weekly column. Reading it yesterday, I ran across Akiva Gottlieb’s profile of my old friend David Horowitz. According to the profile’s headline, “David Horowitz is homeless.” I asked David if he thought the profile was fair and if there was anything he might want to add for our readers. David responded:
Tablet assigned the profile of me to a 24-year-old Nation writer and credulous supporter of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Its text is as accurate a portrait of me as the caricature they chose to accompany it (I suspect even Ahmadinejad would get a more respectful treatment from the Tablet editors). I wasted my time with this young man, and am sorry I did.
He read a lot of my work, appreciated some of it — in particular Radical Son — but hasn’t a clue as to what the conservative dimension of my life is about, and therefore who I am. I am not “homeless,” as the title and much of the article implies, or a cynical propagandist, as he suggests.
There is in fact precious little in this piece that accurately reflects what I think or even what I have said. That is because the writer has no respect for conservative ideas or thought generally. Aside from the ideas, among the obvious facts he could have checked but didn’t, my Center never occupied a “tony high-rise” let alone on the 12th floor, as the author claims — and never “in downtown L.A.”
My present staff is not three but fifteen and my Center far from being in pathetic decline (as he also suggests) has three times the budget it did in 2000 and about ten times the following or more (the Alinsky pamphlet I wrote has been read by 2.5 million people, but you would never guess it from his description); there is no security guard in our present offices, the Olin Foundation no longer exists, I have 100,000 conservative financial supporters — not three foundations, and so forth.
The Center’s pamphlets are only “lurid” to a far left kid who has absolutely no feel or respect for conservative ideas. And this is the main problem with the piece. A serious writer would have tried to understand the connection between the radical half of my life and work, and the conservative one.
Instead the conservative Horowitz is merely a caricature, and while a caricature is built around recognizable features of the individual, it also distorts them beyond recognition. This is exactly what this caricature does, so that it misrepresents what I think even when the words it quotes are correct. Liberal commentators have not “learned to tune [me] out,” for example. They never considered my work (something I foolishly hoped Tablet would do).
Instead they have snatched quotes from blogs I have written or — in the case of this article, ads I have published — or titles of public events (like “Islamo-fascism Awareness Week”) and used them aggressively to misrepresent what I have stood for and believed, much in the manner of the repulsive illustration which is attached to this text.
I could go on but what’s the point? I don’t know of a single conservative magazine that would treat a comparable intellectual on the left as shabbily as the Tablet has treated me in this article.