For more than 20 years, David Barton had been dogged by allegations that he had, early in his career, spoken at events hosted by racist and anti-Semitic groups. His appearances before such groups had first been reported back in early 1990s by organizations like the Institute for First Amendment Studies, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and the Anti-Defamation League but Barton always insisted that while he may have spoken before such groups, he was not aware of their views when he did so.
In 2010, at a time when Barton had been brought in by the Texas State Board of Education to help shape the state’s social studies standards, two Democratic candidates running for the Education Board produced a campaign video that asserted that Barton was “known for speaking at white supremacist rallies.” In response, Barton sued these two candidates for libel and defamation, contending that the video falsely portrayed him as a supporter of white supremacists.
Last month, Barton prevailed in his lawsuit and reportedly received a million-dollar settlement and an apology. Predictably, he is now spinning this as a complete and total victory, declaring on his radio program today that his work has now been vindicated in court.
A lot of folks who try to use Barton’s materials, he said, have often found themselves dismissed because “oh, you’re quoting Barton, he’s a discredited historian, he makes up his history. Well, guess what? For those people who have used those quotes and been beat up for it, this now vindicates them as well.”
“We don’t want people to be drug down because we get beat up,” he said. “We want them to be able to use historical quotes and not get their brains beat in and so this really is a vindication for everybody who is concerned about original intent and everybody who wants to quote things about the faith of the Founding Fathers or things like that. Now you’ve got a way when they said ‘oh, that’s all made up,’ no, no, no, here’s a judgment, here’s a defamation suit, here’s the court judgment that says that stuff was defamatory, that was false and defamatory.”
Barton’s lawsuit focused solely on the claim that he was “known for” speaking at white supremacist rallies and had nothing to do with the shoddy nature of the pseudo-history that he regularly produces and which has been well–documented.
But in typical Barton fashion, he was unable to even tell the truth about the results of his own defamation lawsuit.
You could not ask for a more perfect demonstration of Barton’s common practice of spreading deliberate misrepresentation to further his own agenda than this.