Charlotte Hunt-Grubbe

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Removed from list because of this quote from the first citation: "Science has always been open to debate. Why shackle it? What are we so afraid of? Why gag and shame on the basis of fear?”

Correctly reporting what someone has said is not an act of social justice.


Evidence that CHB misrepresented Watson's remarks:


Anyone who has ever been involved in a news event knows that the media coverage of it is essentially false. If it is not literally false to the facts of the matter, then it is false to the spirit of the matter. People involved will protest that they have been “quoted out of context,” but no one will believe them because, well, everyone says that. Usually, however, they are correct.

So what was the context of Watson’s remarks? What transpired in that four-thousand-word story in the Sunday Times that led to James Watson’s destruction? To put the matter simply: He was sand-bagged by someone he trusted. The journalist/ex-colleague/friend who wrote the story, Charlotte Hunt-Grubbe, clearly felt ambiguously toward her subject. She tells us toward the end of the article that she was reluctant to interview Watson. “I remember that while I was thrilled when a sheet of familiar laboratory paper landed on my desk a few months ago, asking if I would like to interview him for his new book, I was wary of the ethical content.” Wary of the ethical content? Clearly, she did not share Watson’s beliefs regarding genes and groups (genes and women, for instance). But an objective description would call that a disagreement about the anthropological content of Watson’s views. Such a neutral description, though, was evidently not sufficient for the would-be author. She wanted her readers to know without doubt that she disapproved morally of her subject’s un-PC beliefs.

And so she wrote a story highlighting James Watson’s “controversial” ideas, with a tone that invited PC disapproval. She told of his “disdain for women turning men into ‘girly men,’ which means ‘men who don’t have the courage to say anything.’” Of course she raised the topic of Harvard president Larry Summers’s “infamous lecture” (her description), saying that “one former pupil—an eminent biologist and staunch feminist, is outraged at [Watson’s] account of her in his book.”

As best one can judge from this salad of snippets, what Watson casually uttered to his supposed friend was some rambling combination of ideas drawn from genetic science, intelligence testing, geopolitical theory, personal experience, and social policy—which his erstwhile friend managed to summarize in one inflammatory paragraph. How well the paragraph put in proper context his actual views on intelligence and groups may be judged from Watson’s first reaction: “I cannot understand how I could have said what I am quoted as having said.”

WATSON'S REACTION,8599,1673952,00.html "No one seems more shocked by the statements than James Watson himself. "To all those who have drawn the inference from my words that Africa, as a continent, is somehow genetically inferior, I can only apologize unreservedly," Watson said in a statement he issued at the Royal Society Thursday. "That is not what I meant. More importantly from my point of view, there is no scientific basis for such a belief."

Interview with Sunday Times Editor responsible for clearing the story.

"GM: Did Watson know when the piece was going to run, and was he apprised of the comments? Was there any effort to run the article by him?

CG: It is our job to accurately reflect what is said to us in an interview. It is not our job to return to our interviewees and check they are happy with what are going to publish. If some journalists and publications do that, I would suggest they have strayed out of journalism and into PR. [Editor's note: See above.] So, no, we did not go back to Watson to tell him which parts of the interview we were using. And yes, he was told when the piece would run. It is also not our job to be so PC that we cast him as a monster. It's for the reader to decide what to think."

CHB's profile mentions mentoring by Watson and her success at the Sunday Times, but not her role in getting him fired and blackballes from the scientific community.