(May 22, 2018 / JNS)
American magazine The Forward has been at the center of a media scandal after media watchdog CAMERA discovered that the magazine fabricated racist support for University of Toronto Professor Jordan Peterson.
“We closely monitor white supremacist media,” said CAMERA analyst Dexter Van Zile, who himself has been the target of white nationalist attacks. “My colleague Jonah Cohen quickly proved that Forward journalist Ari Feldman misled readers that Peterson has support among far-right racist communities.”
“The exact opposite is the case,” said Van Zile. “Neo-Nazis and white nationalists vehemently hate Jordan Peterson. It’s a demonstrable fact.”
Cohen published his findings in a much-discussed article in the Weekly Standard titled “The Shameful, Unethical Smearing of Jordan Peterson.”
In the article, Cohen concluded: “In sum, what Feldman did was to 1) lie about a neo-Nazis’ opinion of Peterson; 2) use that lie to suggest he has a vast neo-Nazi following at the Daily Stormer; 3) conceal all the Jews who like [Peterson]; and 4) seek out political partisans to smear him as a possible Holocaust-denier.”
In response to Cohen’s article, Michael Shermer, editor of Skeptic magazine which debunks myths and pseudoscience, tweeted: “The Forward just jumped the shark by going after Jordan Peterson & gets royally nailed for it by the Weekly Standard. Shameful disregard of the truth.”
Cohen wrote, “Even the most superficial reading of Peterson’s oeuvre suffices to show he’s an uncompromising enemy of anti-Semitism—and a real friend to the Jewish people.”
The Forward was then forced to remove Feldman’s false claims about neo-Nazi support for Peterson. It also had to change what it reported about Emory University professor Deborah Lipstadt, after she took Feldman to task for misrepresenting her comments in the article.
“When Feldman contacted me, I explicitly told him that I had never read Peterson’s work and knew very little about him,” wrote Lipstadt. But, she said, “my repeated assertions and qualifications about my knowledge of Peterson’s arguments did not appear in his article thereby potentially skewing many readers’ assessment of my remarks.”
Van Zile called the Forward article “a textbook case of a media hit job.” He said “what’s most depressing is that the article dangerously undermined the meaning and significance of anti-Semitism and the Holocaust.”
On behalf of CAMERA, Van Zile has sent two formal letters to Forward editor Jane Eisner asking that the magazine “acknowledge that Peterson is loathed by Jew-haters, neo-Nazis and white nationalists.”