December 12, 2007

"The New Yorker" retracts Malcolm Gladwell's potential libel of Charles Murray

On Monday, I linked to Malcolm Gladwell's New Yorker article "None of the Above: What race doesn't tell you about IQ." Several of my commenters alertly called attention to Gladwell's line:

"... and in 1994 Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, in “The Bell Curve,” notoriously proposed that Americans with the lowest I.Q.s be sequestered in a “high-tech” version of an Indian reservation, “while the rest of America tries to go about its business.""

Obviously, this is flatly wrong. As "yo" acidly observed,

"'Proposed' and 'argued against' are so close in meaning that its easy to get them confused."

This afternoon, following earlier critical comments by "Rain And" and "rone," I posted on the Gladwell.com blog:

Dear Malcolm:

Don't they have fact checkers at The New Yorker anymore?

Are you going to issue an apology to Charles Murray for your possibly libelous claim, ""Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, in “The Bell Curve,” notoriously proposed that Americans with the lowest I.Q.s be sequestered in a “high-tech” version of an Indian reservation""?

Soon after, Gladwell posted this on his blog:

Correction

To my chagrin, I made an error in my New Yorker piece "None of the Above." In the "Bell Curve," Charles Murray and Richard Hernstein did not advocate a "high-tech Indian reservation" for low-IQ groups. Rather, they warned that if current welfare policies continued, we would end up having to build high-tech reservations for those with low IQs--which is a very different argument, obviously (although not, if you think about it, any less ridiculous). I regret the error. The New Yorker will be running a correction.

The potentially libelous line remains in the online version of the New Yorker article, but an apology (a more graceful one that Malcolm's, by the way), has been appended to the bottom of the article:

"CORRECTION: In his December 17th piece, “None of the Above,” Malcolm Gladwell states that Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, in their 1994 book “The Bell Curve,” proposed that Americans with low I.Q.s be “sequestered in a ‘high-tech’ version of an Indian reservation.” In fact, Herrnstein and Murray deplored the prospect of such “custodialism” and recommended that steps be taken to avert it. We regret the error."

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

12 comments:

mrs. anonymous said...

It might be ridiculous, but it's happening. What else would you call ed school?

Anonymous said...


Rather, they warned that if current welfare policies continued, we would end up having to build high-tech reservations for those with low IQs--which is a very different argument, obviously (although not, if you think about it, any less ridiculous).


Although, the way things are going, the majority of American are unable to participate in the high-tech wealth that is being generated and we are importing lots of Indians, Chinese and so forth to produce it, and lots of consumers from south of the border too ...

Anonymous said...

What really chaps Sir Gladwell's ass is that riff-raff like Steve are publically exposing his completely fabricated blind liberal bias.

Due to the clear legal liability, this is one of the few lies/distortions that Gladwell is forced to correct. Didn't he delete Steve's comment yet?

David said...

He almost fell off the tightrope this time. CLOSE ONE, MALCOLM! But he will fall in the end!

LOOK OUT BELOW -- !

TH said...

Wasn't it Gladwell who made Steve enable commenting on iSteve? I'm grateful for that.

Sailer Saleri said...

Steve, it's amusing that you say on Gladwell's blog "It's not exactly a secret that Malcolm sees himself in some kind of rivalry with me" Funny, because it's you who is continuously obsessing about Gladwell rather than the other way around.

fifi said...

Too funny. I guess this was an early Christmas present for Steve.

Udolpho said...

Proof, if any was needed, that Gladwell has never actually read The Bell Curve, the tone of which is consistently and insistently anxious about the inegalitarian aspects of a high IQ super-class.

Murray and Herrnstein were rare and bold visionaries. Brave enough to say what is true, and far-seeing and compassionate enough to feel concern over the implications. Meanwhile the contemptible guardians of PC morality (never give offense) compound the problem by refusing to address it.

Luke said...

Gladwell may have accidentally done Murray a favor by drawing attention to what was, I thought, the best chapter in the book and one very few people ever got to.

One thing I remember was Murray's suggestion that some form "of the simple life" might be more appropriate for this segment of the population. As it happens I did a Gallup poll back on the 1970's on just that issue -- my own version of the simple life, anyway -- and it turned out blacks were nearly twice as interested in it as whites (two-thirds vs. one-third roughly).

You can read the question I asked, which describes the lifestyle, on my personal google homepage here: http://luke.lea.googlepages.com/home

If anybody wants to see the details just drop me an email at luke.lea@gmail.com

Jim Flynn said...

Gladwell will continue to pull this type of stunt as long as no one calls him on it.

none of the above said...

That's a pretty gut-wrenching correction! Do they often accidentally accuse someone of advocating putting millions of people in concentration camps?

Doesn't anyone notice what this does to their credibility, when they report horror stories about someone in a way I can't check?

Northerner said...

Even Gladwell's correction is wrong: He says that Murray/Herrnstein argued that elites would end up "having" to "build" reservations. Not so -- their argument wasn't that anybody would "have" to "build" anything. Their argument, instead, was that as high-tech elites marry and live amongst themselves more and more, society will just become very divided by class and IQ, and that this will be like a "high-tech . . . reservation" for the low-class people. No one is "building" anything there.

And yes, Murray/Herrnstein say that this vision is "apocalyptic" and that it going to be the "destruction" of American "civil society." It's amazing that anyone could have thought they were RECOMMENDING such a scenario.