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Friday, July 12, 2024 - 07:26 AM


First Published in 1994


PHOENIX -- Longtime pro-life journalist Dexter Duggan recently entered a confidential settlement after being "shocked" by a defamatory book by well-known historian James Hitchcock, Ph.D., titled Abortion, Religious Freedom, and Catholic Politics.

The book falsely attributes statements by other clearly identified people directly to Duggan and misrepresents numerous facts. Among serious, baseless errors, it claims that Duggan, a practicing Catholic, considered "fanatically pro-abortion" U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater to be "worthy of unqualified support" -- which would be a significant sin.

"I had been an admirer of Hitchcock but was shocked at these inexplicable falsehoods," said Duggan, who entered the confidential settlement in late 2021. It's related to Hitchcock's book, but not with Hitchcock himself.

The book was promoted through a number of outlets. "Global Catholic network" EWTN ran two entire favorable interview programs with Hitchcock and his book, but declined to allow Duggan to respond. The book is at institutions around the world, according to WorldCat.org.Although Duggan's name wasn't mentioned on the EWTN programs, the book that EWTN promoted to its audiences has Duggan on 20 pages, with untrue claims about him -- twice as many pages as Planned Parenthood.

Publications Duggan has written for at some point over five decades include daily newspapers The Orange County [Calif.] Register and The Arizona Republic, weekly national Catholic newspapers The Wanderer and the National Catholic Register, and for Time magazine as a stringer. He also worked for a major mutual-fund company and the Relay telephone service for speech- and hearing-impaired persons.

In late April 2017 Duggan learned about Abortion, Religious Freedom, and Catholic Politics, published in late 2016 by a New Jersey firm, Transaction Publishers, which soon was acquired by London-based company Taylor & Francis. Thus began nearly a half-decade of efforts by Duggan seeking redress.

In more than 4 1/2 years, starting at the end of May 2017, Duggan received only one reply from Hitchcock, four sentences in a note in June 2019, but Hitchcock still didn't admit making any error. In this note, Hitchcock called Duggan "Mr. McDermott" and restated his baseless claim: "It is impossible to be both an orthodox Catholic and a loyal Goldwaterite."

In the book, Hitchcock claimed Duggan made statements by California black activist Ted Hayes, former California Cong. Robert Dornan, Arizona conservative GOP activist Rob Haney (twice), New Zealand conservative activist Trevor Loudon, Virginia political strategists Gray Delany and Zach Werrell, and, in a very garbled way, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Just four examples of the errors: In articles, Duggan quoted Haney in 2013 likening U.S. Sen. John McCain to "a mad scientist," and Hayes in 2015 saying he thought blacks "are moving toward Donald Trump." Hitchcock omitted both Haney and Hayes as the actual speakers while falsely claiming that Duggan said blacks "would flock to Trump's banner."

Duggan covered an annual meeting of Maricopa County, Ariz., Republican Party precinct committeemen in 2010 where a pro-abortion Democrat was criticized. But Hitchcock falsely claimed that Duggan covered a gathering of "true conservatives" (people who look down on pro-lifers) who "were ecstatic" over a "newly elected" pro-abortion Republican (whose election hadn't been held yet).

Hitchcock claimed that Duggan "appeared to agree" with a call to end Republican support of Israel in 2015, but Duggan wrote no such thing.


SOURCE Journalist Dexter Duggan