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DIANA WEST VS. FRONTPAGE

In May 2013, St. Martin's Press released a new book authored by conservative syndicated columnist and Dispatch International correspondent Diana West, titled American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character. On its Amazon.com web page, American Betrayal's Book Description says the following:

West ... uncovers a body of lies that Americans have been led to regard as the near-sacred history of World War II and its Cold War aftermath.... American Betrayal lights up the massive, Moscow-directed penetration of America’s most hallowed halls of power, revealing not just the familiar struggle between Communism and the Free World, but the hidden war between those wishing to conceal the truth and those trying to expose the increasingly official web of lies.

Before long, numerous conservative authors and websites had offered favorable assessments of American Betrayal. In early August 2013, FrontPage Magazine as well posted a positive review of the book, calling it “an eye-opening, unsettling read.”

Soon after the publication of that review, however, FrontPage editor-in-chief David Horowitz received an email about American Betrayal from Ronald Radosh, a highly respected historian who has been a pioneer in documenting the guilt of the Rosenbergs, analyzing the Amerasia spy case, dissecting the Communist infiltration of Hollywood, and telling the blunt truth about the crimes of traitors like Alger Hiss. In his email, Radosh said that he was greatly disturbed by Frontpage’s endorsement of West’s book, and proceeded to explain:

It amounts to a Birch Society type conspiracy history theory of Communism and the Cold War, with half truths built to unwarranted conclusions, a failure to comprehend history in context, as well as great errors of fact that undermine her thesis. For one thing Harry Hopkins was NOT Agent 19 [as West claims]. That was Larry Duggan. It makes a big difference. She misuses [historians Harvey] Klehr and [John Earl] Haynes throughout the book, and when they actually draw opposite conclusions than she does, based on evidence, she simply says they are wrong without bothering to prove her point. This is not a difference of opinion; it is a failure to use evidence correctly in order to spin her conspiracy theories….This is as important an issue. Do we really want conservatives to rewrite history based on an ideological view, while ignoring context, evidence and reality? That is what she does.

Given that Radosh’s concern was methodological—the dishonesty in West’s use of conservative sources, her alleged abuse of evidence, and her construction of conspiracy theories not based on facts—Mr. Horowitz felt compelled to examine the blanket endorsement which the FrontPage review had given the book. He spoke to the author of that original, positive review, who readily conceded that he was not familiar with the sources and could not properly assess such crucial matters as, for instance, West's claim that Soviet agents had gotten the United States to ship fissionable uranium to Stalin via the Lend-Lease Act of 1941. Thus, on Horowitz's instruction, the FrontPage editors removed the favorable review of American Betrayal and politely informed West that while a critical review (authored by Ronald Radosh) would be forthcoming, she herself could have an equal amount of space, on FrontPage, to defend her book in response.

Upon learning this, West—before Radosh's review had even been posted—accused FrontPage's editors of "behav[ing] like little totalitarians" and engaging in "nasty tactics." 

Radosh's review, published the following day (August 7), stated the following:

[West] argues that during the New Deal the United States was an occupied power, its government controlled by Kremlin agents who had infiltrated the Roosevelt administration and subverted it. Like McCarthy, whom West believes got everything correct, she believes a conspiracy was at work that effectively enabled the Soviets to be the sole victors in World War II and shape American policies in the postwar world.

Writing sixty years later, she claims that the evidence that has come to light in the interim not only vindicates McCarthy’s claims but goes well beyond anything he imagined. Throughout American Betrayal, West uses the terms “occupied” and “controlled” to describe the influence the Soviet Union exerted over U.S. policy through its agents and spies. She believes she has exposed “the Communist-agent-occupation of the U.S. government” during the Roosevelt and Truman eras, and that her discoveries add up to a Soviet-controlled American government that conspired to strengthen Russia throughout World War II at the expense of American interests, marginalize anti-Communist Germans, and deliver the crucial material for the Atomic Bomb to Stalin and his henchmen. It also conspired to cover up the betrayal. In West’s summation: “The Roosevelt administration [was] penetrated, fooled, subverted, in effect hijacked by Soviet agents… and engaged in a “‘sell-out’ to Stalin” that “conspirators of silence on the Left … would bury for as long as possible, desperately throwing mud over it and anyone who wanted the sun to shine in.” According to West, it was only because Washington was “Communist-occupied” that the United States aligned itself with the Soviet Union against Nazi Germany.

But Ms. West writes without an understanding of historical context and lacks awareness of much of the scholarly literature on the subjects she writes about. Moreover, she disregards the findings of the sources she does rely on when they contradict her yellow journalism conspiracy theories. Consequently she arrives at judgment after judgment that is not only bizarre on its face, but also unwarranted by the evidence and refuted by the very authorities she draws on.

Radosh then proceeded to examine West's book and its inaccuracies in detail.

West, for her part, chose to reject FrontPage's offer of equal space within which she could reply to this critical review. Instead, in an article which she posted on her own website, West launched a series of personal attacks not only on Radosh but on the editors of FrontPage, calling them “hypocrites,” “totalitarians,” “ossified totalitarians,” commissars,” and liars, claiming that they had “suppressed”—and “purged”—a favorable review of her book because its opinions were “incorrect,” clearly implying that they were politically incorrect. In short, she misrepresented intellectual differences as acts of political treason or suppression.

This section of Discover The Networks documents the controversy between Diana West and FrontPage.

FrontPage Review of Diana West's American Betrayal

McCarthy On Steroids
By Ronald Radosh
August 7, 2013


Diana West's Replies to the FrontPage Review

If Frontpage Will Lie about This, What Won't They Lie About?
By Diana West
August 7, 2013

If Frontpage Lies about This, They'll Lie about Anything, Pt. 2
By Diana West
August 8, 2013

The Rebuttal: Part 1
By Diana West
September 6, 2013


FrontPage Responses to Diana West

Editorial: Our Controversy With Diana West
By David Horowitz
August 8, 2013

Diana West’s Attempt to Respond
By Ronald Radosh
August 9, 2013

Diana West vs. History
By Jeffrey Herf
August 9, 2013

What Difference Does It Make? A Response to Diana West
By David Horowitz
August 15, 2013

Diana West Invents a New Conspiracy
By David Horowitz
September 7, 2013


Additional Debates Regarding American Betrayal


Defaming FDR
By Conrad Black
August 16, 2013

Conrad Black’s FDR Idolatry
By Robert Stacy McCain
August 19, 2013

Was Harry Hopkins A Soviet Spy?
By John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr
August 16, 2013

Harry Hopkins: Did He Warn the Ambassador or Did He Warn the Embassy?
By Diana West
August 16, 2013

Email Exchange Between Harvey Klehr and Andrew Bostom
August 18-19, 2013

Diana West’s Epic Fail
By Conrad Black
September 11, 2013

Why Academics Hate Diana West
By Vladimir Bukovsky and Pavel Stroilov
September 28, 2013

Another Personal Attack Inspired By West
By David Horowitz
September 28, 2013

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