I am appalled at your credulousness in falling for Evan Gahr’s absurd claims to have been censored by conservatives, especially me (Stanley Crouch, "Right-Wing Purge Reminds Me of the Reds," New York Daily News, March 17, 2001). I actually posted his asinine attack on Paul Weyrich not once but twice on my site. Gahr’s claims that I censored him are lies and you should be ashamed of yourself for lending them your support.
I never got a chance to deal with Gahr’s piece, because he submitted it when I was on a transcontinental trip and did not have access to a computer on which I could read it. But Gahr insisted that we make a decision the same day he submitted it, and that we post his story that very night. He also implied that FrontPageMagazine.com would find itself in an embarassing situation if we did not publish his piece immediately.
I don’t like being threatened. So I told our editor, Richard Poe, that we weren’t going to proceed by Gahr’s timeline. I would read it when I got to a computer, but I wasn’t going to decide on it before.
Gahr thought what he had was momentous. When I was told what the article said – that Weyrich was an anti-Semite because of one phrase in one letter, with no other supporting evidence – I thought it was a reckless piece of character defamation and, journalistically speaking, a tempest in a teapot. We took a pass.
Within 24 hours, Gahr got his screed posted on the American Spectator site, which makes your entire column about conservatives acting like reds etc. look pretty silly.
All of this was highly annoying, but in and of itself would not have caused me to tell Gahr his submissions were no longer wanted at our site. What forced me to take that action was his subsequent behavior.
Gahr lost no time making good on his threat that our rejection of his story would become a public issue. The very next day, The Washington Post was calling our office asking why we rejected Gahr’s story. In an April 21 story, the Post quoted Gahr calling Weyrich a "demented anti-Semite." The article also implied that I was a hypocrite for denouncing censorship on college campuses while at the same time killing Gahr's lame story.
It was then and only then that I responded to his attacks. This, I believe, is called self-defense. Far from censoring Gahr’s piece, I linked it on my Web site, along with my critique of its contents. The American Spectator version – which is the one I linked -- was better written and less overwrought than the copy he submitted to us, but the weakness of his charges against Weyrich and their recklessness were still glaringly obvious.
That day, I posted a reply to Gahr’s attack and said the only demented party to this fracas was him. I also announced that I wouldn’t be running anything else by Evan Gahr. The reason? He is malicious. Would you want to associate with – and promote -- somebody who threatened you the minute he didn’t get his way, and, before you knew it, was running to the Washington Post with an attack on yourself?
Gahr was not purged from our staff – as you and others imply – because he was never on our staff. He was a freelance columnist, who badgered me into running his column. I don’t want his column anymore because it comes with a knife in it pointed at me. I don't want to be forced into a corner again by an ambitious conniver whose journalistic judgment is atrocious and whose personal instabilities are directed maliciously at myself.
The Weyrich article, by the way, was not the first of Gahr’s submissions that I found unworthy of publication. Only days before, he had submitted a bizarre attack on Washington Post gossip columnist Lloyd Grove, accusing Grove of hypocrisy for – guess what? – failing to publicize one of Gahr’s columns. Do we see a pattern here?
Despite his misgivings about the Grove story, Richard Poe had posted it on our site, because he was reluctant to censor Gahr. However, the moment I saw it, I asked that it be removed. Now, Stanley, note carefully that Lloyd Grove is not a conservative. He regularly attacks conservatives and makes fun of them. He has even been known to do that with me. But FrontPage has standards and this attack on Grove, like the one on Weyrich, was absurd. That’s why I yanked it.
To accuse me of censorship on my website is, in fact, laughable. Have you checked the number of vicious personal attacks on me by others that I’ve posted on my site lately? I have put up every pro-reparations argument I could locate, along with diatribes associating me with Hitler, the Ku Klux Klan, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.
Has it not occurred to you, Stanley, that Gahr set this whole thing up, from the beginning, to try to portray me as a hypocrite in the midst of a national campaign of slander against me by the left? "Horowitz the advocate of free speech censors free speech." How could you fall for transparent stuff like this? Gahr even submitted his piece on Weyrich as a paid advertisement to FrontPage, hoping that I would reject it. Instead I ran it. In short, I posted his "censored" article twice.
The motives for Gahr’s attack may go beyond mere self-promotion. He is something of a political imposter. In his current crusade, he presents himself as a principled conservative decrying hypocrisy among his "fellow conservatives." Yet, he is actually a registered Democrat and a Ralph Nader supporter. This may help explain why he is so eager to attack me. I wouldn’t know, because Gahr is such a strange animal.
Perhaps you didn't catch Evan trying to face me down with hand puppets on Hannity & Colmes a few weeks ago. If you had, you might understand why others -- apprehensive about this man’s bizarre antics, loose ethics, and hostile acting out -- are distancing themselves from him as fast as they can.
Click here for more articles on the Evan Gahr Affair.