Thursday, September 1, 2011

Banned Books Week Propaganda Exposed by Progressive Librarian Rory Litwin; ALA Censors Out Criticism of Its Own Actions in a Manner Dishonest to the Core

Banned Books Week propaganda
Progressive librarian Rory Litwin of Library Juice fame has just exposed the propaganda used by the American Library Association [ALA] that is "Banned Books Week."  Read him carefully to see how his statements remarkably align with the ALA's activities I have been reporting, and later I will show how the ALA is dishonest to the core, even apart from the propaganda:


Comparison of Rory Litwin Quotes with Past SafeLibraries Observations

Rory said:
My problem with Banned Books Week is one that is probably shared by some conservatives, and it has to do with the loose definition of what a 'banned book' is, and what a 'challenged book' is, 
and I said essentially the same thing in:



Rory said:
The Banned Books Week project, well-intended as it may be, is a propaganda exercise that fails to model good standards for democratic communication, 
and I said essentially the same thing in:



Rory said:
School districts have policies in place for reviewing challenges to books on the basis of age-appropriateness.  Challenged books are reviewed and evaluated by committees that are charged with that responsibility, and then the school district makes an official decision regarding the book.  Regardless of what the school's decision turns out to be, regardless of its reasonableness or unreasonableness, and regardless of the objectivity or bias within the decision-making process in a specific case, all challenges to a book by a parent get counted as an attempt at book banning, 
and I said essentially the same thing in:



Rory said:
But when a book is challenged and reviewed on the grounds of age-appropriateness, it is ultimately not the family that brought the challenge that makes the decision. The decision is made by the educational institution itself, 
and I said essentially the same thing in:



Rory said:
But the decision about whether a book should remain a part of the curriculum or not is ultimately made by the public institution that put the book in the curriculum in the first place, which means that book challenges happen as a part of a process that the institution puts in place in order to get feedback from the community on the curriculum, 
and I said essentially the same thing in:




ALA Finally Gives Dissent Significant Coverage

Remarkably, the ALA has done something it almost never does, namely, give significant coverage to disagreement with ALA propaganda.  Here it purports to quote Rory Litwin's criticism:

  • "Actions & Answers," by American Library Association, American Libraries Direct, 31 August 2011:
    My problem with Banned Books Week
    Rory Litwin writes: “The Banned Books Week project, well-intended as it may be, fails to model good standards for democratic communication. Here is what I mean. Book banning, good people agree, should be fought against and is a source of inspiration to fight for what is right. Banned Books Week taps into people’s responses to these historical narratives and aims to prevent the suppression of ideas from recurring. But what counts as a ‘banned book’ is actually a ‘challenged book,’ and what counts as a challenged book is something quite different from an effort to prevent a book from being published, sold, or even made available in a library.”... Library Juice, Aug. 28

Screen shot of American Libraries Direct in case ALA
should whitewash it by changing language after I publish
this blog post, as it has done before.
For example, the ALA has never given coverage to my exposing its use of admittedly low quality material that it plagiarized to promote a "censorship map" as part of its propaganda for Banned Books Week.  That plagiarized map is still being promoted by the ALA even after a year and a half.  See:



But look carefully at that ALA quote of Rory Litwin more closely.  It is a misquote, and apparently intentionally so.  The ALA leaves out select portions of the quote referencing propaganda and the problem with Banned Books Week, making it sound completely different than what Rory Litwin actually said.  The ALA does this by using a technique remarkably similar to Soviet-style censorship that makes things disappear that are not politically palatable.


Compare the Actual Text to the Whitewashed Text

To make it more obvious, allow me to place the relevant sentences side by side, then highlight the section the ALA conveniently left out or added.

Example of Soviet-style censorship.
The actual Rory Litwin quote:
The Banned Books Week project, well-intended as it may be, is a propaganda exercise that fails to model good standards for democratic communication.
Here is what I mean.
.... Book banning, good people agree, should be fought against, and is a source of inspiration to fight for what is right. Banned Books Week taps into people’s response to these historical narratives and aims to prevent the suppression of ideas from recurring. ....
The problem that I see with Banned Books Week is that what counts as a “banned book” is actually a “challenged book,” and what counts as a challenged book is something quite different from an effort to prevent a book from being published, sold, or even made available in a library.

The actual ALA quote quoting Rory Litwin:
Rory Litwin writes: "The Banned Books Week project, well-intended as it may be, fails to model good standards for democratic communication. Here is what I mean. Book banning, good people agree, should be fought against and is a source of inspiration to fight for what is right. Banned Books Week taps into people’s responses to these historical narratives and aims to prevent the suppression of ideas from recurring. But what counts as a ‘banned book’ is actually a ‘challenged book,’ and what counts as a challenged book is something quite different from an effort to prevent a book from being published, sold, or even made available in a library."


Dishonesty to the Core

No, Rory Litwin did not write that.  The ALA left out "is a propaganda exercise that" without the proper use of the ellipsis. The "propaganda exercise" is Rory's point and is the subject of the sentence.  "That fails to model good standards for democratic communication" is a modifier of the subject.  The actual sentence is, "The Banned Books Week project, well-intended as it may be, is a propaganda exercise that fails to model good standards for democratic communication."  By leaving out the subject and the modifier, the ALA effectively changes the subject and that changes the entire sentence to something Rory Litwin did not say: "The Banned Books Week project, well-intended as it may be, fails to model good standards for democratic communication."  No, it is not Banned Books Week that fails to model good standards.  Rather, it is that Banned Books Week is propaganda, and the exercise of propaganda fails to model good standards.

And what the ALA left out is Rory Litwin's main point and his essential criticism of the ALA.  He uses the word root for "propaganda" three times and even links one use to a hyperlink, so important was that subject to Rory.  But the ALA, acting in its own self interest, just cut it out without the slightest indication of having done so.  That's no mistake.  That is dishonesty to the core.

The ALA left out "The problem that I see with Banned Books Week is that," while adding instead "But" without the proper editorial marks to let a reader know the author as quoted, and he is quoted with quotation marks, did not actually say those words.  One uses square brackets to do that, like [this].  "To give context to a quote or otherwise add wording to it, place added words in brackets, []; be careful not to editorialize or make any additions that skew the original meaning of the quote—do that in your main text...."  The ALA did not do that.  It simply left key phrases out with no indication they were ever there in the first place or added material in place of critical text.

Failure to use the proper form of an ellipsis could misrepresent the work of another person and result in legal liability for the writer.  Correct use of ellipses, on the other hand, shows that the writer has carefully attended to detail, and thus increases the reader's confidence in the reliability of the written work


ALA Omissions Misrepresent Others and Decrease Reliability of ALA Statements

I contend the omissions do indeed misrepresent the work of another, and do indeed decrease the reliability of statements from the ALA, especially so where the omissions appear to be both intentional and self-serving.

The omissions give a whole different reading to Rory Litwin's quote.  That is obviously why the ALA left out those phrases.  But in doing so it also left out the required editorial marks needed to make quotes accurate.  And given it left out references to propaganda and the problem with Banned Books Week, this action is likely intentional, particularly in light of past instances of similar whitewashing by the ALA, as we are about to see.


The ALA's Propaganda Whitewash is Ironic But Not Novel

The irony of this is unbelievable as the ALA advises local communities it is censorship to keep children from inappropriate material.  But this is consistent with previous ALA miscues involving redaction of records after having been caught, such as I detail here:


One has to wonder why the ALA continues to feel the need to cover up for its own actions.


When Will the ALA Stop Besmirching Its Own Reputation By Using Propaganda And Whitewashing Missteps?

I am truly shocked I even have to bring this disgraceful conduct by the ALA to your attention.  Were the ALA to act honorably, none of this would be an issue.  I would not need to say what I say.  Rory Litwin would not need to say what he said.  People of all political stripes are starting to stand up to the ALA's propaganda.  Don't let anyone claim it's this or that political bent.  False.  It's everyone.

It's time for the ALA to represent people, not mislead people with propaganda and a variant of Soviet-style censorship that is dishonest to the core.  I challenge the ALA to do so.  Thank you for reading my opinion.


Bravo, Rory

Remember, read "My Problem with Banned Books Week," by Rory LitwinLibrary Juice, 28 August 2011.

Bravo, Rory.


NOTE ADDED 13 SEPTEMBER 2011:

Rory Litwin has today interviewed me via FaceBook and published the interview:




6 comments:

  1. The truth always rises to the top.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Your statement couldn't be truer, Dan. This is not a Republican or Democrat issue. It's not a conservative or liberal issue. It's not a religious issue. It's a common sense issue issue. The concerns belong to all people of all walks and all persuasions. I know we have local librarians who stand with Mr. Litwin on this issue. In West Bend, the ALA pushed pornographic young adults materials by crying "censorship" over what was in actuality a (multiple) book challenge. Ms. Caldwell-Stone herself made a trip to West Bend for fear the parents of our community would successfully raise awareness to a very dangerous issue facing their children in our local library. She went so far as to march in a Banned Books Week rally that got in the face of the local community, ranting "censorship" when all parents wanted to do was uphold the local community standards, identify sexually explicit materials for minors, and make our library a safe place. Shame all over the ALA.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks, WBCA, and in your community, the ALA quietly offered a thousand bucks to a loud, local advocate of the ALA's political message. To this day people are unaware of this political payoff. I may get around to writing about it. Quiet $1000 grants to sympathetic community members is just one more way the ALA pressures communities to conform.

    ReplyDelete
  4. What you say about some phrases in my original paragraph being left out is not untrue, but it just doesn’t have the significance that you try to give it. In putting together American Libraries Direct, they have to clip together brief paragraphs that summarize whatever they are linking to, and they have space limitations. If they were so concerned about being criticized, they wouldn’t have linked to my post in the first place. Technically, they minimized the tone of my criticism to a very slight degree; yet to you it means that they are “dishonest to the core” and similar to “Soviet style censors.” There is a kernel of truth in this case but it just doesn’t amount to what you are trying to make of it. I think rather than reflecting any particular dishonesty in ALA it just reflect the actual norms that any similar institution is going to follow. I think the way you exaggerated this thing, taking something that is barely worth remarking on and fashioning it into evidence of an evil which you then claim to be neutrally reporting is typical of your accusations against ALA.

    ReplyDelete
  5. The full Judith Krug quotation, since Dan tends to cherry pick his quotes.

    "On rare occasion, we have situations where a piece of material is not what it appears to be on the surface and the material is totally inappropriate for a school library. In that case, yes, it is appropriate to remove materials. If it doesn't fit your material selection policy, get it out of there. But materials that adhere to the material selection statement that every school has, and that have been duly selected, we would fight alongside every librarian and every teacher to keep the books available."

    You need to update your stockpile of copy/paste comments, Dan. At least be honest about the full quotation so when you accuse others of being engage in propaganda you don't look like you are doing it yourself.

    Because you are.
    i saw this on another site as i research the topic. always better to have both sides of the argument i think to properly analyze the truth of a topic.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Anonymous who just left a comment provides an example of ad hominem argument. He attacks the messenger and says nothing about the message. Further, reality has little to do with such non-substantive, logically fallacious attacks, and Anonymous provides just the latest example.

    For example, he says I "cherry pick [my] quotes." In reality, I provide not only the quote, but the entirety of the article in which the quote appears, and I do so precisely because I myself found it so hard to find the entire context online, so I decided to put it online myself. See for yourselves, "Marking 25 Years of Banned Books Week: An Interview with Judith Krug," by Dan Kleinman, SafeLibraries, 23 September 2011. And see that I presented it fairly.

    So that false claim of cherry picking is an example of an ad hominem attack, and one that is simply made up to besmirch another.

    Besides, when people quote others, they necessarily quote only the relevant portion. The Krug quote after the "but" relates to material that meets the school selection policy, which is not relevant to the part I quote about material that does NOT meet the school selection policy. So here's what the attack is meant to cover up: even the ALA admits that material that does not meet a school's selection policy may be removed forthwith.

    And, not apparent from this single attack, know that this is a person who makes false and ad hominem attacks on a repeated basis. This is just the latest example. This is why I usually remove comments such as his.

    Indeed, his may be the only comments I remove under my commenting policy, other than spam, as it appears he is my sole detractor who behaves in the manner he does.

    ReplyDelete

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