Thursday, July 24, 2008

Scandal: ALA Intimidation Squelches Free Speech; Ethical Violations, Threats and Personal Attacks Gag and Censor ALA Opponents to Avoid Open Debate

What follows is a description of an outrageous scandal within the American Library Association [ALA]. Apparently, the ALA squelches free speech and censors people using propaganda, ethical violations, threats, and personal attacks. An avoidance of the issues by using ad hominem argument is apparently the modus operandi of the ALA.

Walter Skold, MLIS, wrote the following letter entitled, "[ifforum] Chair of IFC on Intimidation of Councilors & Librarians" on 24 July 2008. I tend to believe what he has revealed as I too have been similarly subjected to the exact same intimidation and issue avoidance tactics. For example, one ALA Councilor said SafeLibraries "will destroy anything" and is "happy to destroy lives" while the Councilor defended his defamation of American troops which I challenged. See "American Troops Defamed by ALA Councilor Peter McDonald," by SafeLibraries, 26 June 2008, and the associated comments.

Are you wondering why this particular ALA scandal is relevant to SafeLibraries' efforts to educate communities to protect children from ALA misinformation? It shows another example that the ALA's claimed interests in free speech and intellectual freedom are fraudulent. It shows another ALA double standard. And it shows people should expect personal attack as a method of issue avoidance, or just issue avoidance in the first place.

Now here's Walter Skold's letter revealing this ALA scandal:

Intimidation of Council Members & Librarians Must Stop

The current effort gaining steam which would seek to use the tactics of intimidation and propaganda in order to squelch free speech and force a uniformity of thought at the Council and organizational level must be stopped.

The underhanded effort is a clear violation of several core principles as outlined in The Library Bill of Rights and the stated Policies of the ALA regarding intellectual freedom. The current Chair of the Intellectual Freedom Committee, Kenton Oliver, has written about this "practice of gagging and deriding members who dissent" in Ohio Libraries, and Councilors are encouraged to read excerpts of that article added just below.

This authoritarian course of action being promoted by a relatively small number of librarians seeks to criminalize efforts to engage in open dialogue with ALA Council candidates about their positions. Serious but unsubstantiated charges of fraud and ethical violations have been publicly leveled at librarians, who are then provided no opportunity to respond. What is worse, those using these tactics refuse to respond to repeated public challenges to debate these issues in open library forums, and some are now even seeking to use the implied threat of legal action in an unprofessional attempt to shut down the free exchange of ideas.

I invite all the ALA Council and ALA membership to resist these censorious reactions to the exercise of prima facie democratic rights. Resist the "rehearsed responses" to unpopular ideas that W. H. Auden warned against. It is a very troubling trend when elected leaders who represent the ideals of American librarianship resort to character assassination, yellow journalism, and repeated verbal attacks in order to silence the opinions of dissident librarians.

Mr. Oliver's important observations on intellectual freedom within the ALA follow.

Those who think it is wise to seek second opinions about issues like book burning and censorship, are invited to read the documentation assembled at:

Walter Skold, MLIS
(Un-government-funded and solely on behalf of himself)

Excerpts from Kenton Oliver article in Ohio Libraries. Fall 2004.
The full article can be accessed at:

"ALA members who claim to hold freedom of speech and intellectual freedom values dear are resorting to tactics at Council and membership meetings aimed at silencing opposition and discourse. This troubling cultural atmosphere is unfortunate. It cheats the association of our focus; it plays out in violation of the association's adopted policy...

...For whatever reason, the issues and subjects of these discussions do not seem to allow for coll├ęgial and reasoned debate. We are moving toward intolerance, disrespect, and labeling of association members. It is good theatre but boorish behavior. And it is ironic. As an association that professes to support diversity and dissent in its members and institutions, we shut each other down at our membership meetings…

... I felt the atmosphere of contempt for anyone who would speak against the resolution was as clear as it had been at the non-membership meeting discussion earlier in the conference. Just as Ms. Davison-Turley described in her membership meeting experience, councilors rising to oppose the resolution risked being labeled right wing government lackeys..."

1 comment:


    [ifforum] Re: Chair of IFC on Intimidation of Councilors & Librarians:

    Walter Skold has reported accurately about the group that has long used classic fascist tactics within ALA to try to intimidate people who from time to time step forward to point out the falsehoods and distortions in the work this group brings forward in ALA: Their targets include: those with traditional points of view; those who are grateful for the good America does and has achieved among nations and are not afraid to say so; those who place a high value on U.S. democracy and the unique important individual freedoms it affords, such as freedom for the invidivual and freedom of speech; and those who really do have a genuine, non-cynical belief in the right of those with diverse points of view to be able to express them and be safe within ALA.

    This group has a long record of mounting coordinated attacks and threats on anyone who has been paying enough attention about how ALA is operating to realize how one group within ALA plans actively to parlay their agenda into ALA with the goal of manipulating ALA to the greatest extent possible to control the organization's "voice" the lion's share of the time so that it matches their personal internationalist anti-America political agenda.

    Saying that their dominance in ALA is just "democracy in action" trivializes and distorts the reality. Hitler was elected through democratic processes.

    Ironically this group uses code words like "progressive," and "social justice," which are smoke screen vocabulary that fools a good number of people into assuming this group is working for the good of libraries, when in reality this group is illiberal, controlling, and totalitarian.

    Tragically, the world thus group promotes and idealizes leaves free access to information, freedom of _expression_, and personal freedom in the dustbin of history.

    Ellen Zyroff
    ALA Councilor 2003-06


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