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When DiscoverTheNetworks was launched in mid-February 2005, we made it clear from the outset that we were committed to maintaining the highest possible standard for the accuracy of the information included in our database. The GUIDE to our website states: "If any errors have been made in characterizing individuals or organizations, the editors of DiscoverTheNetworks will correct these as soon as they are brought to their attention.... [A] form is provided on the homepage of this site for this purpose." This pledge is our commitment. It distinguishes DiscoverTheNetworks from political attack sites posing as databases, like Media Matters, Media Transparency, the Southern Poverty Law Center's "Intelligence Project," and People For the American Way's "Right Wing Watch" -- which make no attempt to correct factual inaccuracies and mischaracterizations on their sites when these are pointed out to them.


Following are some examples of errors that have been pointed out to DiscoverTheNetworks (DTN), and which we have quickly and willingly corrected:

(1) During DTN’s first week, a blogger friend of Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel, whose profile appears in DTN, sent vanden Heuvel the bullet points which appeared at the head of her profile and asked for her reaction. These were the points:

  • Editor and co-owner of the left-wing magazine The Nation
  • Limousine leftwing daughter of William J. vanden Heuvel, who worked for the founder of the CIA and for Robert F. Kennedy, and Jean Stein, whose father founded MCA-Universal. 
  • Married to New York University Russian scholar and Gorbachev enthusiast Stephen F. Cohen 
  • Fluent in Russian. Worked as reporter for state-run Moscow Times in U.S.S.R. 
Through an interlocutor, vanden Heuvel objected to the statement that she is fluent in Russian and was a reporter for the Moscow Times (it was in fact the Moscow News) and – far more importantly – pointed out that she was a reporter only for a few weeks to cover Russia’s first democratic elections. In other words, the bullet point (and related text) insinuated that she worked for the press of a Communist police state, and she hadn’t. When apprised of this mistake, we immediately removed the inaccurate point and published our correction.

(2) When ABC’s Jake Tapper called us directly to complain about a passage referring to him in our profile of the American Broadcasting Company, we immediately altered it and made it accurate to his satisfaction. 

(3) The DTN profile of an anti-Israel non-governmental organization whose acronym is SUSTAIN, incorrectly stated that the group had received funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Lowell Weiss, the Senior Policy and Advocacy Officer for the Gates Foundation, alerted us to the fact that while the Gates Foundation did indeed support a group named SUSTAIN, that was not the same organization as the aforementioned NGO; rather, it was a non-political group that works “to enhance quality assurance in fortified food aid commodities to improve nutrient delivery.” 

Once this mistake was pointed out to us, we corrected it within five minutes. Mr. Weiss, appreciative of our quick responsiveness, thanked us with the following note: “Thanks very much for returning my call ... and for swiftly removing the incorrect information on the Discover the Network[s] website. As I mentioned, we do not provide funding to the Sustain campaign. I suspect the confusion resulted from the fact that we fund a different organization that also uses the name SUSTAIN. The group we are funding helps to improve nutrition in the developing world. Its website is www.sustaintech.org. Here are some links to announcements on our website about our support for this nutrition organization.”

We replied to Mr. Weiss as follows: “[We’re] glad you pointed out the error to us. [We] consider it very important to keep the information in our database as accurate as possible.” To this, Mr. Weiss replied, “Thanks.... I really appreciate your responsiveness.”

(4) A reader informed us that Ilan Pappe was not a former professor at Haifa University, as his DTN profile identified him, but rather that he was still teaching there. We promptly made the correction.

(5) Paulette Sankofa wrote to tell us that she was no longer the director of Women Against Military Madness (WAMM), a fact that her DTN profile did not yet reflect. We quickly and cordially made the necessary correction.

(6) Our profile of Professor James Holstun contained a paragraph that read, in part, “To date, Holstun has made no attempt to hide his alignment with the anti-Semitic professor’s [Norman Finkelstein’s] views. In April of 2004, the GGMS [Graduate Group of Marxist Studies], at Holstun’s instigation, invited Finkelstein to Buffalo to deliver a lecture. An article by writer Chuck Richardson called Finkelstein’s talk ‘reckless,’ and characterized the speaker as ‘ruthless in his attacks,’ capable of stirring up ‘anti-Semitism whose significance he otherwise discounts.’” 

Chuck Richardson contacted us and informed us that he had never characterized Finkelstein’s work in this manner. He pointed out that the quotes were in fact those of Omer Bartov, and were taken from Bartov’s review of Finkelstein’s book The Holocaust Industry; that is, Bartov was commenting on a piece of Finkelstein’s writing, not his Buffalo lecture. We verified that what Mr. Richardson said was in fact correct, and we immediately amended the Holstun profile accordingly. 

(7) Professor Peter Kirstein, who is profiled in our database, contacted us to point out some inaccuracies in his profile: 

(a) Professor Kirstein’s original profile made reference to an exchange of letters between him and an Air Force cadet; Kirstein informed us that it was in fact an exchange of emails and not letters; we immediately made the correction.

(b) According to the original profile, the aforementioned cadet had addressed his correspondence to the university’s Political Science Department. Professor Kirstein informed us that the cadet had in fact addressed it only to “Sir/Ma'am” in a mass emailing to some 50 academics. Again, we quickly corrected this detail.

(c) Professor Kirstein pointed out that in his profile, the link for “St. Xavier University” mistakenly pointed to Xavier University in Cincinnati, rather than to St. Xavier University in Chicago, which is where he in fact teaches. We immediately corrected the mistake.

After these corrections were made (in mid-July 2005), Professor Kirstein posted on his website some comments about DiscoverTheNetworks.org.  His comments included this acknowledgment: “The quotations from my publications are selective but accurate.... I also encountered some errors and sent them two e-mail requests for corrections. Each time they forthrightly corrected their mistakes which reflects well on their attempt to achieve a modicum of accuracy.” To read Professor Kirstein's comments in their entirety, click here.

David Horowitz replied as follows:

Dear Peter Kirstein,

Much as I disagree with you on obviously important matters, I appreciate your comments about our profile of you in
www.discoverthenetworks.org. It is indeed descriptive. Unlike Ralph Luker (a mutual adversary) and many other database sites, our intention is not to smear but to provide a factual basis for understanding the political landscape. We will continue to correct any factual inaccuracies that the subjects of our profiles point out.
(8) Orville Schell, dean of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, informed us that we were mistaken in reporting (in his profile) that he had been the Editor-in-Chief of Pacific News Service (PNS) until 1996; he told us that in fact he had left PNS in 1971. We quickly corrected the error.

(9) Professor Mark Ensalaco wrote to us about DTN's profile of him, which incorrectly stated that he had taught a course called "Imperialism," and that he had assigned his classes to read The Poisonwood Bible; Bananas, Beaches and Bases; Canto General; and the Edward Said Reader. We quickly corrected these errors.

(10) In August 2011, anti-Israel activist Charlotte Kates contacted us to say that a particular sentence in her DTN profile incorrectly stated that during her brief stint as a Church of Scientology member, she had once "recalled a past life." Kates provided documentation to verify her claim and asked us to remove the sentence in question. We removed it immediately.

Future corrections can be found in this section of the DTN website.
Click here to view a sample Profile.

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