Note to Reporters: Google Is Your Friend


Writing for Reuters, Arthur Spiegelman (no, not that Art Spiegelman) reports:

Bowing to a barrage of complaints from Jewish groups, retail giant Wal-Mart Inc. on Thursday stopped selling "The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion," an infamous anti-Semitic tract long exposed as fake.

Jewish leaders had complained that the book, which purports to tell of an international Jewish conspiracy to take over the world, was being sold on with a description that suggested it might be genuine instead of a forgery concocted by the Czarist secret police in the early 20th Century.

The description, now withdrawn from the Wal-Mart Web site, said, "If … The Protocols are genuine (which can never be proven conclusively), it might cause some of us to keep a wary eye on world affairs. We neither support nor deny its message. We simply make it available for those who wish a copy."…

Wal-Mart had no immediate response to questions on whether the company wrote the description of the book on the Web site or if it came from the publisher.

My question: How did Spiegelman make it to the year 2004 without learning to use a search engine? It took me less than a minute to plug a phrase from that description into Google and discover that the exact same language is on the book's Amazon site. Obviously it didn't originate with Wal-Mart.

Spiegelman does note that "Barnes & Noble and sell 'The Protocols' online but with strong disclaimers." So apparently he found the Amazon page, but didn't bother to scroll past the warning. If he'd done that Google search, of course, he would have learned that Amazon faced protests because of the exact same language four years ago, and that that's why the disclaimer is there.

NEXT: Foucault and Iran

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. But Jesse, checking out the FACTS is never any fun! Can’t make headlines by doing Google searches.

  2. How long will it be before some anti-Semite describes the Protocols as “fake but accurate”?

  3. Why would anyone even buy this when there are tons of places on the net you can read it for free?

  4. I wonder if it comes bundled with “The Turner Diaries”?

  5. So your a Reuters reporter, and you the choice of writing a negative article about this book, and of making one of the following organizations look bad:

    1. Wal-Mart
    3. Barnes & Noble

    Which organization do you choose? Well duh, every leftie’s version of Satan’s seller of stuff — Wal-Mart.

  6. I’ve long been collecting a list of items, phrases, actions, etc., that are immediate indicators of the incredible stupidity of the person using them. The Protocals are on that list. If you meet someone that thinks they’re true, you know that they are either a moron or evil, or both.

  7. So can you get “Report from Iron Mountain” there, too?

  8. WalMart and Martha Stewart: I love ’em both. I even kinda liked Leona Helmsley.

    All three of these unfortunate objects of my affection illustrate the pack mentality of US society led by alpha reporter dogs.

  9. Um, David, I hate to break it to you, but Wal-Mart and B&N had warning disclaimers already, having already been taken to task for the book description. Wal-Mart was low on the list of reporters’ priorities.

  10. How long will it be before some anti-Semite describes the Protocols as “fake but accurate”?

    I just sifted through the reviews on Amazon, and they seem evenly split between those claiming “fake but accurate” and “authentic and accurate”.

  11. Spiegelman does note that “Barnes & Noble and sell ‘The Protocols’ online but with strong disclaimers.” So apparently he found the Amazon page, but didn’t bother to scroll past the warning.

    I think you give Spiegelman too much credit. The only reason he probably knows that those pages have disclaimers is that the press release he copied his article from says that those pages have disclaimers.

  12. Hooray for Captain Spaulding: That’s entirely possible, but since he described them as “strong” disclaimers, I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt.

  13. The readers’ reviews on Amazon are truly dismaying. They help validate others’ belief in the legitimacy of the book.

    Can anyone point to articles/books debunking the “Protocols”? I’m particularly interested in books not written by Jews or Jewish-affiliated organizations. When one points to a debunking written by a Jew, the response is always “well, what do you expect?”

  14. Mr. Burgess,

    Here and here. Also this page links to a PDF and an HTML transcript of the 1921 article by non-Jew Philip Graves who demonstrated that the Protocols were plagirized from a couple of novels.

    Also, for what it’s worth, the evidence of forgery was strong for Henry Ford to apolgize for his part in desseminating this stuff.

  15. make that: “…when she was not writing histories of conspiracies but instead…”

    Sorry about that.

  16. Is Wal-Mart hawking The Protocols to distract attention from their own world-domination scheme?

  17. OK, here’s the deal: the most famous line from the Protocals refers to the Jews wanting to set up an empire “from the Euphrates to the Nile.”

    Now, in desert countries, rivers don’t serve as borders of countries, along the edge, but as spines running down the middle. Look at Baghdad, look at the settlement patterns in Egypt.

    Rivers serve as borders in temperate climates, where the land away from the river is just as viable as the land in the river valley. With settlement patterns spreading across the upland areas unimpeded, the river becomes important as the line where the invading army can be stopped, because of its natural defensive use.

    So the Protocals were clearly written by people who didn’t know squat about the Levant.

  18. Google might be good for fact checking but…

    It isn’t good for Liberty in China

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.