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Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Smear campaign against my husband Joseph Bosco

It was bad enough that one disgruntled Uriel Wittenberg defamed China Foreign Affairs University, a school at which my husband Joseph Bosco and I taught for the 2003-4 school year. Wittenberg, because of his attitude and ineptness in dealing with students, was dismissed for cause before the first semester was over. Both my husband and I read his lengthy documented rant about his experiences at CFAU long before we arrived there, on Wittenberg's web site, which clearly revealed his own culpability in those events. He certainly has a right to tell his side of that or any other story. But we were appalled at his contemptuously demeaning criticism of Chinese students, particularly the girls.

Our experience at CFAU couldn't have been more different. We had respectful relationships with our students, cooperative faculty contacts and exceptional domicile support from the staff in the Foreign Exchange Center. It was one of the most rewarding experiences we've had.

This revolting diatribe against CFAU has been on Wittenberg's web site for almost two years and recently he apparently decided to draw more traffic to it. He began by spamming contacts harvested from Living in China blogzine, an online community of bloggers inviting them to read it. My husband got an unsolicited e-mail from the unwitting Wittenberg about it which Joseph pointedly ignored. (The trawling Wittenberg had apparently discovered The Longbow Papers, Joseph's blog, and saw that Joseph had taught at CFAU.)Soon thereafter, a short, hasty and astonished post about Wittenberg's CFAU diatribe appeared on The Peking Duck weblog. Joseph posted a comment opining that Wittenberg's characterization of CFAU was reprehensible (my word) and volleyed a few choice remarks about Wittenberg himself. A series of ill-tempered blog comments and e-mails ensued between Wittenberg, Richard (webmaster of The Peking Duck) and Joseph. Richard soon took down from TPD every reference to Wittenberg or his web site, when he became "personally concerned" about the malicious intent of this web-roach. One of the contributing factors was Joseph's stated opinion, in a comment on TPD, that Wittenberg's defamation of CFAU was unbalanced, at best. Joseph was honorably attempting to shield CFAU from any more embarrassment over Wittenberg's fulminating online rant. He has declined to refute or debate this issue publicly, because any such exchange would only futher this slander.

Wittenberg has mounted an online campaign to defame and discredit Joseph. He's put up a lengthy screed on his own web site. His main point seems to be that Joseph is a hypocrite when it comes to free speech, because, says Wittenberg, Joseph persuaded Richard to take any reference to Wittenburg or his web site off The Peking Duck.

In fact, I know this not to be the case! After several e-mail exchanges about Wittenberg and his web site, Richard asked Joseph if he should take Wittenberg's comment on TPD down. Joseph told Richard to make the call himself and do whatever he thought best. Richard took it all down. That's the whole story. But because, when Wittenberg objected, Richard told him that he valued Joseph's opinion, the two of them being very close colleagues, Wittenberg is insisting that Joseph, despite his highly public and indisputable free speech advocacy, for which he's actually spent time in jail, is a hypocrite.

Wrote Richard, (in a comment addressed to Wittenberg on The LongBow Papers)
"...let me just say that the entire premise of your argument is false. Joseph never told me to delete your comment; he just warned me about who you are. And know what? Some other Chinese bloggers emailed me to warn about you. One thanked me for the deletion; it has nothing to do with the first amendment -- after all, you've set up your own site, and I have no obligation to spread your message on mine. You're free to say whatever you want. I'm free to include whatever I want on my own site. Meanwhile, your reputation precedes you and I'm thrilled to see that the Chinese blogger community sees you for the nutcase you are."
Wittenberg is now propagating links to his attack on Joseph's character and integrity through off-topic comments on various blogs, most of which are aggregated by Living in China and they in turn aggregate other blogs. I find this disgusting and offensive on the face of it. Webmasters and blog-owners, among whom Joseph has an outstanding reputation and mutually respectful relationships (even in disputes), have contacted Joseph with their concern.

The internet is free space; anyone can and does post anything they want. I have no quarrel with that. But as a wife and a member of this community and with my unapologetically personal feelings about my extraordinary husband, I emphatically object to this peevish slander. I am mad as hell! This is not a free speech issue. This is about trash disposal.

// posted by Ellen @  21:02   //Permalink// 
Ellen says hey
Mainer, New Yawka, Beijinger, Californian, points between. News, views and ballyhoos that piqued my interest and caused me to sigh, cry, chuckle, groan or throw something.

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