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Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Did City Journal and Cancel Watch hatch a scheme to blackmail a critic of race pseudoscience and censor RationalWiki?

"We are coming for you. If you don't take the prudent action and refrain from continuing your malicious activities, you will be exposed..." 

~ Cancel Watch Twitter Account @watch_cancel

It appears that the Koch-funded City Journal/Manhattan Institute coordinated with the Cancel Watch Substack in a scheme to try to get content removed from RationalWiki by blackmailing a critic of race pseudoscience.

City Journal recently ran a hit piece against Oliver Smith, written by "David Zimmerman" but I couldn't verify a real person associated with that identity.

The article links to the Cancel Watch entry on Smith.

Cancel Watch is a site that targets individuals: college professors, journalists and bloggers, who have spoken out against - or even just reported on - race pseudoscience. 

For example:

But Cancel Watch doesn't just write about these individuals, Cancel Watch issues threats and attempts blackmail.

According to Smith, Cancel Watch sent him direct messages on Twitter - he shared screen caps:


Smith refused to comply. Less than a month after the threat was issued, a hit piece was published in City Journal, which does exactly what Cancel Watch threatened - dredge up and publicize Smith's former association with the far right. Smith was a teenager at the time of his involvement and has long since come to regret his youthful alignment with extremists.

Smith is now a strong critic of race pseudoscience, and was sued by Emil Kirkegaard. Smith won, and Kirkegaard won't pay up.

Smith is currently seeking legal relief for Cancel Watch's threats.

The owner of the Cancel Watch site is anonymous. One commenter on a post there noted a connection between the interests of Cancel Watch and the interests of Kirkegaard:

Is it a coincidence all these attack pieces are Emil Kirkegaard's critics and he is one of the few people retweeting Cancel Watch?

Why hide behind anonymity when it's clear you are either Kirkegaard or one of his attack dogs or henchmen.

The Cancel Watch account appears to be speaking for more than one person, but it's not clear who is meant by "those of us you've attacked.

If the City Journal article is what is meant by the "massively embarrassing article in a mainstream journal with millions of readers" then Cancel Watch is speaking on behalf of some or all of the people and organizations mentioned in the article, and, possibly with their knowledge and consent, used City Journal to exact revenge against Smith.

  1. Jonathan Anomaly
  2. Noah Carl
  3. Frodi Debes
  4. Edward Dutton
  5. Aurelio J. Figuerdo
  6. Peter Frost
  7. John Fuerst
  8. Richard Haier
  9. International Society for Intelligence Research
  10. Anatoly Karlin
  11. Emil Kirkegaard
  12. Claire Lehmann
  13. London Conference on Intelligence
  14. Gerhard Meisenberg
  15. Adam Perkins
  16. Quillette
  17. Heiner Rindermann
  18. Jan te Nijenhuis
  19. James Thomson
  20. Dmiitri van der Linden
  21. Bo Winegard
  22. Emily Willoughby

City Journal did not reach out to Smith for a response, and refused to acknowledge Smith's request to respond to the attack.

"David Zimmerman"s grievances appear to be that Smith sometimes posted under a pseudonym, and that Smith shared verifiable facts in a public forum. I believe we call this "free speech."

Isn't this the "free speech" that Steven Pinker and the rest of the "Intellectual Dark Web" claim to support? 

I mentioned in my previous post that long-time Koch money recipient Charles Murray is a fan and financial supporter of Emil Kirkegaard. 

So naturally Murray is a promoter of this apparent Cancel Watch/City Journal blackmail scheme.

Cancel Watch retweeted Pinker's promotion.

If it turns out to be true - and it certainly seems plausible - it's remarkable that "mainstream journal with millions of readers" City Journal would participate in this blackmail scheme. 

Even I didn't think far-right media would stoop this low. They are getting bolder all the time, probably fueled by all the generous right-wing sugar daddies, as Bari Weiss would know.

I reached out to the available Cancel Watch email address cancel.watch.account@proton.me and asked who was funding them. The response:

Vladimir Putin, the Koch Brothers, and Steven Pinker.

But when I asked if they put Cancel Watch up to the blackmail attempt, or if that was Cancel Watch's own idea, I received no reply.

UPDATE: RationalWiki claims that the City Journal article contains misrepresentations and suggests the author, David Zimmerman, does not understand how Wikis work.

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