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.”