In what must rank as one of the more interesting parts of Dr. Thomas DiLorenzo’s interview with Brian Lamb in 2008, we learn of a supposed conspiracy of Lincoln scholars to embarrass him through the History Channel:
LAMB: Have you ever been invited to speak to the American Lincoln Association Springfield or the Lincoln Forum that’s put on by Frank Williams and Harold Holzer?
DILORENZO: No. No, I’ve never been invited to speak there.
LAMB: What would you do if you were invited?
DILORENZO: Well, it depends on the ground rules. I’ve been around some of these Lincoln scholars before and I’ve had some experiences that were sort of appalling. For example, the History Channel, one of your competitors, they interviewed me for about an hour-and-a-half on – not live. And then they used about 20 seconds of the interview, and they somehow managed to make me appear to say exactly the opposite of what I actually said in the interview. And so it was a real set up, sort of a hatchet job and they had to have some academic advisors advising them on how to go about doing this.
LAMB: What was their point do you think?
DILORENZO: What was their point?
LAMB: No, what were they trying to get at and what was the documentary like?
DILORENZO: Well, the documentary was – it talked about – they had a series on American presidents and they talked about there’s several presidents, not all of them maybe five or six before Lincoln and they had almost nothing good to say about any of them. And the point was to make Lincoln seem even bigger, even better than we think of him even now because the others were so bad. And so they interviewed me and I must have been totally contrary to that theme that they apparently wanted to put out there. And so I don’t know why they used any of my interview. I mean they used about 20 seconds of it, but I think, it was just to sort of needle me, to aggravate me because they actually twisted my words around to make me say the opposite of what I actually said about Lincoln during the interview. But anything else, certain parts of what I was doing and so that’s probably what motivated it, very dishonest.
And so if I were to be invited, I would insist on knowing the ground rules of any kind of debates, rather than being a sort of set up.
Crossroads Comments: I must admit that this passage moved me to laughter. Somehow DiLorenzo moves quickly from the Abraham Lincoln Association and the Lincoln Forum to the History Channel, and then accuses the History Channel of setting him up, adding that he’s sure that Lincoln scholars were behind this.
Sure. Making such accusations without a shred of evidence is not exactly sound professional practice or ethical behavior. But the excerpt gives the reader insight into how DiLorenzo views himself and scholarly discussion … as a plot to get him because he’s telling the truth, I presume.
You can make of that what you will.