Little Red schoolhouse Red?
* Re Victor Navasky's "Seeing Red at the Post" [Oct. 13], about my coverage in the Washington Post of Kathy Boudin's parole. Navasky takes me to task for describing Elisabeth Irwin High School, which Boudin attended in the late 1950s, as "Communist-influenced." Citing my recent (private) e-mail correspondence with Andrew McLaren, the school's current director, he says that I declined McLaren's request for a correction, and that I offered "selectively" quoted information from the school's seventy-fifth anniversary commemorative publication to buttress my point.
But it's Navasky who's doing the selecting. The entire quotation from the school's publication, which Navasky elides in your pages, reads as follows: "In January, 1945, we voted to finish History with Russian History instead of the last two years of American History. We were all pretty much left-leaning 'progressives,' and thought Russia was great and Communism a noble experiment. Many flirted with Communism as an alternative." The upper-case Cs are in the original, by the way.
I cited this to McLaren in response to his claim that Elisabeth Irwin "has never been pro-communist or communist-influenced." McLaren wrote back cordially that he "appreciated" my comments, then offered to rewrite his letter and submit the revised version for publication, minus the request for a correction, as it turned out. That was that.
Navasky called the Post's Christine Haughney in New York to inquire about the story, but for some reason he didn't call me. I would have gladly explained all of the above to him if he had done so.