Day Seventeen of Stengel-gate: The National Constitution Center Sends Me Mail, We Talk about Who is Paying for This, and We Talk About Accreditation…
[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here. Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]
Background: a few weeks back Time magazine published, as its cover story, an article by Richard Stengel. Reading it, I was stunned to discover fourteen clear factual errors in his piece, and I have been on a bit of a crusade since then to force Time to either correct or retract the article. And I have been examining how other media outlets and organizations have treated Stengel.
Particularly I was troubled by his relationship with the National Constitution Center, despite his evident cluelessness about the Constitution he was the President and CEO at one time and still worked with the National Constitution Center’s Peter Jennings Project for Journalists and the Constitution, whose stated mission is “to help both professional journalists and students interested in journalism understand constitutional issues more deeply.”
So yesterday you saw how I finally got them to make a response, of sorts, where they tried to pretend to be neutral about the accuracy of statements such as “[i]f the Constitution was intended to limit the federal government, it sure doesn’t say so” But sharp readers surely noticed that they didn’t answer a crucial question: “what is Mr. Stengel’s exact role in the National Constitution Center? Specifically, does he teach others about the Constitution?”
Well, I emailed them two days ago asking for clarification on this question, and this morning I got this response from Ashley Burke, Director of Public Relations:
Mr. Stengel was President and CEO of the Center from 2004-2006. He currently serves as a member of the Advisory Board of the Peter Jennings Project for Journalists and the Constitution. In this role, he does not interact directly with our Jennings Fellows, but rather provides recommendations to National Constitution Center staff regarding our annual Jennings Project conference. As a nonpartisan institution, the Center welcomes speakers and advisors with diverse viewpoints; therefore, we are happy to have Mr. Stengel remain in this role.
That is encouraging. At least he doesn’t actively teach, although I don’t know how someone so clueless about the Constitution could serve as an advisor in figuring out how to educate others. So I took my objections about his qualifications directly to her in response: