January 11, 2008

NMAI director defends himself

West:  Let the sun shine inDuring my 17 years as director of the National Museum of the American Indian, I welcomed and learned from criticism, whether gentle or harsh. But nothing prepared me for the recent gossip passing for investigative journalism at The Washington Post and editorials in Indian Country Today. Real Indian country deserves better than rumor-mongering and character assassination, and so do I.

Allegations, which are false, are that my travel was "excessive" and "lavish," as I was "eating and slumbering first-class on the federal dime." Provocative, undocumented adjectives make for good reading in tabloids, but should not be in the Post or ICT. Both should be ashamed of themselves.

The truth is that these papers brazenly editorialized their way to sensationalized mischaracterizations of my travel for NMAI. They fabricated or implied "facts" that never existed. They persisted in their fantasies, even when given ample opportunity to correct them.
Comment:  The image below is one reason I felt it was okay to use the semi-stereotypical heading Chief Bigwig.

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