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May 06, 2005

Note to LA Times: Save Space for Makdisi on the Corrections Page

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On Jan. 16, 2005, the Los Angeles Times was forced to run a correction on an Op-Ed by Saree Makdisi about Israel’s security barrier. (Unfortunately, the error itself couldn’t get the facts straight). You would think that the Times would be reluctant to invite back a guest contributor who earlier erred, but guess again. Makdisi has actually become a favorite of the Times, having since published two more times.

Has Makdisi, an English prof at UCLA and the nephew of Edward Said, become more careful with the facts? Are Times editors exercising more rigorous fact-checking of their contributor with a sullied record? No and no.

His most recent piece, published Wednesday, has at least one factual error, as noted by Middle East scholar Martin Kramer in his blog Sandbox. Kramer writes the Times:

Saree Makdisi (“Neocons Lay Siege to the Ivory Towers,” May 4) purports to establish a linkage between the state-level “Academic Bill of Rights” (SB5 in California), and the federal-level International Studies in Higher Education Act (HR3077 in the last Congress). After falsely associating the two (and calling me a “pro-Israel agitator”), he claims that I am “among the active proponents of the 'bill of rights' legislation at the state level.”

This is false. I have never expressed any opinion on the “bill of rights” legislation, and I am not a proponent, active or otherwise, of such legislation. . . .

Posted by TS at May 6, 2005 01:25 PM