David Barton Plays ‘Expert’ Again

by Dan Quinn

David Barton clearly has no shame. Once again he’s letting the far-right Web site OneNewsNow — “a Christian news service . . . that exists to present the day’s stories from a biblical perspective” — promote him as an authority on the Constitution. Last summer OneNewsNow quoted the head of the far-right organization WallBuilders as a “constitutional expert” explaining why proposed congressional health insurance reform bills were supposedly unconstitutional. Today the outfit revisits the issue and quotes “constitutional historian” David Barton claiming that the health reform bills would fail to pass court challenges:

“I think there’s huge constitutional problems with this thing, and it may be that we see the power of Congress limited constitutionally through a number of different venues by these various lawsuits that are out there.”

The far right’s contempt for real expertise becomes clearer every day. Barton is no more a “constitutional historian” than George Clooney is a medical expert because he played a doctor on television. In reality, Barton is just a smooth-talking political propagandist who collects historical memorabilia and plays fast and loose with facts. He has zero academic credentials to back up a claim to being any kind of history “expert” — in fact, his bachelor’s degree is in religious education, not history at all. He’s the author of a string of self-published books promoting his political ideology, but he is not employed as a historian by a university or research institution, and he does not submit his work to review by real academics who actually study and understand history.

It was bad enough that the State Board of Education put Barton on a panel of so-called “experts” helping revise social studies curriculum standards for Texas public schools. Now OneNewsNow is simply perpetuating this fraud on a broader audience.



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