Sunday, November 13, 2011

Don’t Bother Me with Facts

Though Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly seems to posture as a paragon of knowledge, his new book, Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever (Henry Holt), might just offer up a few lessons in taking what you read -- or hear -- with a grain of salt. After all, it’s one thing to mangle historical fact on television where few people other than Jon Stewart seem to be keeping track. When you write a book, though -- particularly one that positions itself as being somewhat scholarly -- the bar is higher. People sometimes actually even check on what you’ve written.

That’s what happened here. It turns out that, among other things, the book O'Reilly co-authored has been banned from Washington’s Ford Theatre, where President Lincoln was shot. From a piece by the Washington Post’s non-fiction editor, Steven Levingston:
The crime? O’Reilly and his co-author Martin Dugard have displayed a serial disregard for historical fact.

For a purported history of the assassination — an “unsanitized and uncompromising ... no spin American story,” as the authors put it, “Killing Lincoln” is sloppy with the facts and slim on documentation, according to a study conducted by Rae Emerson, the deputy superintendent of Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site, which is a unit of the National Park Service.
There’s more -- actually quite a lot of it -- and it’s here.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home