Thursday September 25, 2008

Media Buzz over 'Liberal Lies'

UD history professor Larry Schweikart has received nationwide attention recently in major news media and on syndicated radio.

University of Dayton history professor Larry Schweikart jokes that the first response people have to the title of his newest book 48 Liberal Lies About American History (That You Probably Learned in School) is almost always the same: "Only 48?"

"Surprisingly, I hear this from liberals, too, although probably sarcastically," Schweikart said. "I think over the past 20 years, the alternative media have caused people to challenge what had often passed for truth. Also, while there were price and space considerations, I wanted to make sure that I could give supporting evidence in many of the textbooks — not just one — of the goofy things that were said."

Since the September release of the book, Schweikart has attracted a lot of attention. He has done dozens of radio and TV interviews in top-100 markets and has about 10 more radio interviews scheduled for next week. He is scheduled to appear on an upcoming episode of Sean Hannity's Hannity's America at 8 p.m. Sundays on FOX News.

C-SPAN's Book TV is scheduled to broadcast his recent book-signing event at Books & Co. throughout October and November.

His op-ed piece "The Wrong Syllabus" appeared in the New York Sun Sept. 22. In it, Schweikart uses examples from college textbooks to demonstrate a liberal slant in the portrayal of American history.

He has also done interviews on Fox & Friends, National Review Online and was mentioned in an LA Times blog about convicted spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Several personal blogs have also republished stories discussing his book.

While most of his radio and TV interviews have been positive and helpful, Schweikart said the polarizing nature of the topic and the call-in format of talk radio can combine for an occasional oddity.

"On one show, I had a half-hour booked, and the entire time was taken up by the rantings of two callers, one known as the "Flaming Liberal" and the other as the "American Patriot." I couldn't get a word in edgewise. It reminded me of my rock-and-roll drumming days when I couldn't get a fill in for all the guitar licks."

Schweikart attributes the popularity of his book to the current mood in the country.

"This political campaign has seen the most biased press coverage in history, and poll after poll shows that people agree with this statement," he said. "And I think when it comes to academia, parents are concerned that their children are not being propagandized, but taught."

Schweikart said the entry in the book that raises the most audible gasps during his interviews — even among those on the left end of the political spectrum — is not one of the 48 at all but was added late into the introduction.

"The two most commonly used images in all 20 of the college textbooks in the sections about the 20th century were of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the atomic bomb, as they should be," he said. "But the third most common image was not Martin Luther King Jr., was not the moon landing, was not Ronald Reagan, it was the Ku Klux Klan. So this tells me that the worldview of the authors of these books is that America is still best represented by the KKK."

The author and co-author of more than 30 books — including America's Victories: Why the U.S. Wins Wars and Will Win the War on Terror (2007) and A Patriot's History of the United States (2004) — Schweikart nearly always has a project in the works. He is presently researching for a new book on media bias that examines editorials from five major U.S. newspaper from 1958 to 1970. The preliminary evidence suggests the turning point for when newspapers started slanting left was not the Vietnam War, but in fact was earlier, in the Kennedy administration, he said.

For more information, contact Meagan Pant, assistant director of media relations, at 937-229-3256 or mpant1@udayton.edu.

Related Links