So, apparently, even tenured Harvard instructors cannot escape the allure of partisanism, as “historian” Niall Ferguson has mightily thrown his weight against the Obama camp and in favor of the GOP ticket. So much for college professors promoting exercises in free thought and inquiry rather than sheepish allegiances to whatever ideology is the flavor of the day.
But that’s actually not the bad news. The bad news is that Ferguson has made his case against Obama with a healthy disdain for accuracy, and in his numerous distortions of facts, he should probably not only ask for forgiveness from his students but from his superiors. Numerous writers from The Atlantic (here, here and here) have lampooned Ferguson’s recent cover story, no less, in Newsweek. Yes, I said Newsweek and I said cover story. Apparently, in addition to an absence of competent editors and a competent publisher, Newsweek doesn’t have fact-checkers either. And this is a leading news magazine. How and why does Newsweek not have fact-checkers? I don’t know. Tenure at Harvard does not and should not make a person immune to editing and fact checking. Tenure at Harvard means just that; whatever hot garbage you spew in other venues should come under the same scrutiny as anyone else, mighty degree or not.