Let it be said that Tom Reeves is the author of nearly a dozen books. They include biographies of Chester A. Arthur, John Kennedy, Joseph McCarthy, and Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, a twentieth century American history textbook, and studies of religion in America. That publication record might justify HNN in giving him a platform. I understand that HNN's Rick Shenkman wanted a conservative American political historian to blog here in the 2004 election year to balance Alan Lichtman's liberal political commentary.
But consider this: After teaching at the University of Wisconsin, Parkside, for 31 years, Tom Reeves retired in 2001. He marked his retirement with this bitter diatribe against his institution and his former students. HNN might have taken note when his six former colleagues signed a reply which said, in part,"Every paragraph [of his article] is replete with false, erroneous, misleading or outdated information."
In Rick's defense, even I had forgotten that exchange, until I came across this comment by Michael Meo on Tom Reeves's HNN blog. Michael wrote:
I am aghast to record here that the reference this writer provides to ‘solid studies' to support his encomium of school uniforms turns out to be dominated by authors and studies that find no correlation between school uniforms and any of the wonderful things this author claims they promote.How many times does a historian have to be accused publicly by his colleagues and peers of lying about how many subjects before his credibility on every subject is suspect? Reeves never replied to his former colleagues' accusations. He systemically ignores comments on his blog and probably still doesn't even realize that he's been corrected by Michael Meo.*
In other words, Mr. Reeves says, for supporting evidence look here, and when you do you find it says he's wrong.
Is there any reason to believe that Tom Reeves did credible work in his books, when he has misrepresented primary and secondary sources repeatedly at HNN? Since 2002, HNN has refused to publish Michael Bellesiles's op-eds circulated by History News Service because Bellesiles's credibility had been destroyed. I don't know whether HNN would publish an op-ed by John Lott. But in repeatedly publishing articles by Tom Reeves and then giving him a blog, HNN has raised up its own credibility problem. The problem isn't that Tom Reeves is a conservative. ....
*My kinder, gentler [and, what the heck, smarter] colleague, Tim Burke, suggests that I simply send Tom Reeves a careful, courteous e-mail, pointing out Michael Meo's corrective to his post. Reeves is retired and has no published e-mail address. From my point of view, Reeves has already been told in comments on his blog. It is only his arrogant ignorance of his audience that may prevent his knowing it.
Update: Subsequent to posting this, I have received an e-mail address for Tom Reeves from a private source. I have sent a link to this post to that e-mail address.