IMG_2361
Blog powered by Typepad

« Not so useless | Main | Misinformational cascade »

Comments


[quote]
Examining an erroneous and malicious character assassination

Gary E. Schwartz, PhD

Reported on www.drgaryschwartz.com

October 10, 2007

Summary

In what can be described as a character assassination segment on “Geraldo at
Large” on Saturday, October 6th, explicit defamatory claims were made
against Dr. Gary E. Schwartz concerning his ethics regarding fund raising
for afterlife research. The one-sided segment presented interviews with
three people – (1) Mr. Knopf, a father grieving the death of his son who had
been a former client of Ms. Campbell (2) a medium currently co-starring in
the television show Sensing Murder, and (3) Ms. Macy, an investigative
reporter hired by Mr. Knopf. The segment was highly selective and biased in
its reporting. A summary of the claims, with additional information not
shared on the segment, is discussed below. Together they reveal a very
different story.

Mr. Knopf claimed that Dr. Schwartz engaged in unethical fund raising
following the death of his son, including making statements regarding his
deceased son’s purported wishes from the other side. What the Geraldo
segment did not mention is that (1) it was Mr. Knopf who initiated contact
with Dr. Schwartz following Mr. Knopf’s successful private readings with Ms.
Campbell, (2) Mr. Knopf claimed that he was a very wealthy man who wanted to
honor his deceased son and help support afterlife research, (3) he invited
Dr. Schwartz to his home to discuss possible research programs that he would
fund, (4) Ms. Campbell provided specific information about his son’s wishes
from the other side, (5) Mr. Knopf promised The University of Arizona an
unrestricted gift of $100,000 but only followed through with $50,000 to The
University of Arizona, (6) Mr. Knopf communicated to Dr. Schwartz that Mr.
Knopf had recently been released from spending time in jail, (7) Mr. Knopf
also communicated to Dr. Schwartz that he was currently being sued by
partners in a medical school he purported to own, and (8) he was upset
because Dr. Schwartz refused to participate in a proposed business venture
with Mr. Knopf that would compromise Dr. Schwartz’s ethics.

Ms. Campbell claimed that she resigned from Dr. Schwartz’s laboratory in
2005, and that this speaks to her opinions regarding Dr. Schwartz’s ethical
behavior. What the Geraldo segment did not mention is that (1) new
guidelines and procedures for advancing the ethics and scientific
understanding for mediums were being formulated at that time, initiated
partly by some inappropriate behavior by Ms. Campbell and some other
mediums, (2) all mediums would be required to go through a nine step
evaluation procedure, including taking a government mandated human subjects
ethics examine required of scientists and research staff, plus take a test
based on a book describing previous scientific research with mediums, (3)
Ms. Campbell was upset that she would have to undergo the required testing
for the new guidelines and procedures, (4) she decided not to participate in
the testing, and therefore (5) she was about to be let go by the laboratory,
and chose to resign instead.

Ms. Macy claimed that she had interviewed other individuals who had been
approached by Dr. Schwartz for research funding in an unethical manner.
What the Geraldo segment did not mention is that (1) Ms. Macy had previously
contributed to the spreading of a false rumor concerning fund raising
related to Dr. Schwartz and the Forever Family Foundation, and that (2)
after being confronted with the facts, she had written a formal letter of
apology to Dr. Schwartz for her being part of spreading the false rumor.

One wonders why “Geraldo at Large” presented such a one sided story.
Geraldo made a point on the show of reporting that Dr. Schwartz did not
return their calls, with an implicit negative connotation. The truth is
that there was no genuine attempt by the Geraldo show to contact Dr.
Schwartz to have a fair representation of both sides of this story. What
Geraldo failed to mention was that the call to Dr. Schwartz’s office was
made only after closing hours of his office on Friday, October 5, for a show
that was ready to be aired on Saturday, October 6. Also, a call had been
made to Dr. Schwartz’s home late Friday night. As it happened, both Dr.
Schwartz and his wife were out of town that weekend. They returned to
Tucson on Sunday evening, October 7, after the show had aired.

As the title “Veritas Research Program” (http://veritas.arizona.edu )
indicates, Dr. Schwartz and his colleagues are concerned with truth. As Dr.
Schwartz reports on his laboratory’s website
(http://lach.web.arizona.edu/hos.htm),“Responsibility to the truth is the
heart of science.” The Geraldo segment about Dr. Schwartz reveals a
striking disregard for balanced truth in reporting. Legal action will be
taken against each and every individual who has made defamatory comments
against Dr. Schwartz, and the truth will be brought out in the court room1.[/quote]

[b]1An expanded and more academic discussion of these issues – including the
philosophy and consequences of erroneous character assassination – will be
available at a future date.[/b]

Michael,

I recommend closing this thread down and starting a new one, as surely there will be plenty who will comment on this.

Thanks to Claus Larsen's uncanny abilities to search the net, more on Knopf which serve to confirm Schwartz' remarks above. Clearly the Michael Knopf Claus found and this one are both the same.

The following is quoted from a search made by Claus Larsen on JREF for which
we should be grateful:
--------------------------------------------
That had me puzzled, since nothing in the discussion on Prescott's blog or
on Geraldo had to do with the West Indies. I did a quick Google search on
"michael knopf" "hospital" "west indies", and lo and behold, this link comes
up as the only link. On the page, a person states this:

Quote:
It's owned by a rich Jew from New York City who has served time in the
Federal Penitentary
...
It is widely known on the island that the primary financier and big boss,
Michael Knopf, served time. He used to strut around the island playing the
big man when he is just an uneducated, crook.

The hospital mentioned is S(a)int Eustatius. Is this the Michael Knopf from
Geraldo?

I have SO many problems with the response from Schwartz. It's full of subjective opinions which amount to he said/she said. I was hoping for some solid facts, but his response leaves me hoping. It also includes some accusations that are meant to paint his accusor in a bad light, but you take your victims as you find them. Other here are more articulate so I'll allow them point out the details of the lack in his response. I'm disappointed by Schwartz...again.

My main concern about this episode is whether Mr. Knopf was correct when he said that Gary told him he spoke with Mr. Knopf's son while he (Gary) was in the shower.

This topic is not addressed at all in Gary's response linked above.

This is critical because if Gary represented himself as a medium, he misrepresented the truth. And if he did it to induce Mr. Knopf to give money to the university (for Gary's program), it's even more questionable.

So, who didn't speak the truth: Mr. Knopf or Gary?

Michael,

Thank you very much for the link. I watched the video a few times. If this is true, it's inexcusable of Dr. Schwartz, and also hard for me to believe it wouldn't be illegal.

I had a few quibbles with the report though:

1. The family's story has lots of holes. It isn't clear about whether Dr. Schwartz was invited into the home and why, or what was the agreed on reason for that visit. Obviously they didn't call the cops and have him thrown out, so I can only assume he was invited in. They say he slept in their son's room, and of course any good houseguest takes regular showers. The way Geraldo said he took a shower made it sound kind of creepy. (I hope Geraldo showers when he visits people.) I've never seen anything in The Afterlife Experiments or the VERITAS website that pushes Dr. Schwartz as a medium, so if the daughter read his book and checked his website, didn't she find it odd if he claimed to contact her brother himself? It appeared to be his purported insults toward the deceased son in his letter that finally set the family against him, after they initially gave him $50,000. The letter is never shown clearly enough to read. The report didn't make clear whether the money was research funding, or payment for repeated afterlife contacts with the son, or to support a supposed corporation in the sky guided by their son. I didn't think that was well enough explained, only hinted at.

2. The report did not establish a pattern of swindles. If there were other swindles, none of them were detailed and none of the victims named. More than one claim might rule out a personal disagreement gone sour. I'm very leery of one-sided stories like this. When Geraldo airs something like this to people who don't know those involved, it can take on the authority and semblance of truth, even if it isn't true. I need more substantiation and fewer emotional ploys. Laurie Campbell's claim wasn't detailed, but what little was said indicated a problem with confidentiality, not swindling. Why are she and Du Bois so silent about their problems with Dr. Schwartz if they believe he's this unethical? I would think they'd want the world to know. There was also a hint of plagiarism or copyright infringement that wasn't elaborated on. That's a serious charge. Could it be that Dr. Schwartz is continually skirting the edge of legality so well that no one can make a case against him? But then why air just this one claim, and even that in insufficient detail? NIH funding was mentioned, but not a date or the purpose of the funding. It's my understanding that research funding typically --- especially from the government --- comes with fairly stringent guidelines for tracking its use. Did the NIH funding have to do with his work on VERITAS or his work decades ago at the Yale Behavioral Medicine Clinic? See http://www.springerlink.com/content/g58201j731q8u678/ . The NIH is mentioned in relation to his studies there related to vascular and cardiac medicine. I found that with one simple Google search. A good investigative journalist would do the research and provide more informative details than Geraldo did about that supposed swindled funding from our tax dollars. I noticed that there was discussion of Dr. Schwartz's credentials being fishy, on the show, but not one single mention of his work at Yale, which is so easy to find online.

3. Video tricks. The intermittent video shots of Dr. Schwartz made it appear he'd either taken part in Geraldo's story, when they said he hadn't responded, or that he'd been caught on video doing or saying something questionable. In news stories that show a reference photo of a person under discussion, usually the sound isn't included unless it's related to the current story. I found that distracting and misleading, but it also seems very Geraldo-ish and Fox News-ish.

I always say you can tell a liar by what he doesn't say. Too much was left unsaid for me to believe, yet I'm still reserving judgment. But if I was on a jury and this was a court case, I'd want a lot more information before I could decide against Dr. Schwartz. (I might find Geraldo guilty of impersonating a journalist, though.)

On the other hand, if this is true, I'm appalled and offended by Dr. Schwartz's behavior. What would bother me the most, aside from money bilked out of grieving people and behavior that smacks of a con artist following the obituaries, would be the harm this could do in preventing legitimate research from being taken seriously. If true, it would also make me question Dr. Schwartz's mental health. I'm not a mental health professional but such behavior would seem almost pathological, especially insulting the deceased son if he hoped to get money from these people -- pathological or stupid, one or the other.

Thanks again for the link, Michael. I hope you don't take offense at my response. It's just that I detest Geraldo's tactics. Sorry if I came on too strong. I want to be fair. I don't intend to make up my mind about this without more information. I hope we see some follow-up, either in the form of more reliable and responsible reporting than Geraldo's, or a response from the U of A or Dr. Schwartz.

BTW, I misspelled Laurie Campbell's name earlier. I meant no disrespect to her. I was thinking of a Lori I know.

Thanks, Barbara, for your detailed comments. The bottom line is that we don't know where the truth lies, but eventually it will all come out (I hope).

I'm going to close this thread because it's so long, but if people want to continue to hash this out, they can do so at this new post.

The comments to this entry are closed.