Time for leftists to fix a longstanding misattribution

Around this time of year or around Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, people cite King’s speeches. Most don’t cite “Beyond Vietnam” which sharply and rightly criticizes American foreign policy including calling the US “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today”. As Jeff Cohen and Norman Solomon point out, this speech wasn’t ignored in 1967. The speech was criticized. That criticism looks foolish today like anyone contending the Earth is flat. Unfortunately some of that criticism is wrongly attributed which I learned when I went to read the entire articles from which various people cite quotes.

Here’s the text of a letter I sent to Democracy Now!. Judging by how many leftist blogs, forums, and webpages of all kinds have apparently blindly repeated this error, the issue could just as well apply to them:

Since at least January 15, 2002 either Amy Goodman or Juan Gonzalez has introduced a replay of King’s “Beyond Vietnam” speech and said, “Time magazine [later] called the speech ‘demagogic slander that sounded like a script for Radio Hanoi.'”.

You are probably referring to Jeff Cohen and Norman Solomon’s article from 1995, “The Martin Luther King You Don’t See on TV” which features that line.

In the online version of that article Cohen and Solomon acknowledge that they misattributed a Life magazine quote to Time magazine (“Corrected version: An earlier version of this column mistakenly attributed a quote from Life to Time magazine.”).

You shouldn’t continue to repeat Cohen and Solomon’s error.