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Response to the American Prospect essay

On: September 7, 2004

Re: While Noise
American Prospect
Web Edition

August 31, 2004

To: Editor
American Prospect

Via: email--letters@prospect.org
Fr: William H. Regnery



Aside from the obvious biases and outright misinterpretations contained in Max Blumenthal's article "White Noise," Mr. Blumenthal commits a number of outright factual errors, all of which he or the American Prospect could have avoided had he or its staff carried out elementary homework. Among these errors are the following, in the order in which they appear in the article.

1. The Occidental Quarterly has no connection with the Republican Party and does not desire one.

2. Dr. Virginia Abernethy's surname is consistently misspelled as "Abernathy."

3. The Occidental Quarterly has no association with the movement called Protect Arizona Now. What individual members of the editorial board or authors do is their own concern and does not represent the journal.

4. Dr. Brent Nelson is not, as Mr. Blumenthal states, "working with a coalition of anti-immigrant groups to support the congressional campaigns of Republican candidates who have opposed more lenient immigration policies."

5. I am not the "heir to the fortune of Regnery Publishing Inc."—nor is anyone else for that matter. Henry Regnery, my uncle, founded his firm in 1947. He was a man of ideas and not commerce. By the end of his career the need to subsidize his publishing passion had reduced a small fortune to a comfortable estate. So much for a publishing El Dorado.

6. Henry Regnery Company was sold in the early 90s. At that time the name was changed to the less personal Regnery Publishing. Currently no Regnery is active in the company and no member of the family can claim credit for Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry.

7. The America First Committee was founded in 1940, not 1941.

8. Mr. Blumenthal writes, "As the war progressed the group's rhetoric came to closely mirror Nazi propaganda...." Here, the author is again wrong as The Committee was disbanded a few days after the Pearl Harbor attack with a general appeal to support the war effort.

9. The rhetoric of the American First Committee did not "closely mirror Nazi propaganda," nor was "its membership roll filled by former members of defunct American fascist organizations covertly funded by the Nazis throughout the 1930s." These characterizations of the America First Committee have been refuted by serious writers—AMERICA FIRST: THE BATTLE AGAINST INTERVENTION, 1940-1941 (University of Wisconsin Press/1953) by Wayne S. Cole and IN DANGER UNDAUNTED: THE ANTI-INTERVENTIONIST MOVEMENT OF 1940-41 AS REVEALED IN THE PAPERS OF THE AMERICA FIRST COMMITTEE (Hoover Institution Press, 1990), edited by Justus D. Doenecke.

In point of fact the "Statement of Principles and Objectives" of the AFC included the line "Membership in the America First Committee is open to all patriotic American citizens. We exclude from our rolls Fascists, Nazis, Communists, and all members of the Bund." There were 800,000 members of the Committee and public opinion polls in the summer of 1941 showed that 85% of the country supported its position of neutrality. Charter members covered the political and social spectrum from the perennial socialist presidential candidate Norman Thomas to the "Lone Eagle" Charles Lindbergh, to actress Lillian Gish to Sears and Roebuck President General Robert E. Wood to New Republic columnist John T. Flynn. Junior members whose names are familiar to a contemporary audience include Gerald Ford, John F. Kennedy, Kingman Brewster, Potter Stewart, Chester Bowles and Sargent Shirver.

10. Henry Regnery Company did not publish the original editions of either Whittaker Chambers' Witness or Barry Goldwater's Conscience of a Conservative. It published reprint editions of both books decades after their first appearance. The original edition of the former was published by Random House; of the latter, by the Victor Publishing Company.

11. Alfred Regnery is the son of Henry Regnery not his "grandson."

12. Alfred Regnery is my first cousin not my "brother."

13. The Occidental Quarterly is not "anti-Semitic," nor is it the case that its alleged anti-Semitism is "well-documented." Mr. Blumenthal cites nothing from the magazine that could be construed as anti-Semitic and cites no support for his claim that it is "well-documented."

14. Alfred Regnery has never owned or been employed by Human Events, which Mr. Blumenthal calls "Al Regnery's weekly newspaper Human Events."

The Occidental Quarterly is a journal devoted to discussing the ethnic, racial and cultural heritage that forms the foundation of Western Civilization. It unapologetically defends these interests and examines the contemporary political, social and demographic trends that affect this tradition. Its statement of principles is published in every issue, but Mr. Blumenthal never refers to it. Of the thirteen individuals on its editorial board, ten hold Ph.D.s and two others are editors of their own publications. All are respected writers in their own fields.

Mr. Blumenthal of course is entitled to hold his own views of The Occidental Quarterly, but his readers are entitled to know that those views appear to reflect factual errors, omissions of clarification and an inadequate and unprofessional amount of research and investigation. The errors with which Mr. Blumenthal's article is replete cast serious doubt on the interpretations and characterizations with which his article is filled.


William H. Regnery