Desperate J. Hutton Pulitzer Labels Me a "Science Fiction Writer" and Accuses Me of Being Paid to Attack Him
J. Hutton Pulitzer must be getting desperate. He’s started lashing out at anyone and everyone who criticizes him. He says that he sent a letter of complaint to the Canadian Chronicle Herald newspaper that criticized his claims about the alleged “Roman” sword of Oak Island, and in a podcast last night he asked his fans to send hate mail to that newspaper to protest their alleged “bias” against him and his ideas. In so doing, he made a number of false statements about me and Andy White, some of which bordered on the libelous. I will let White speak for himself, but I will take issue with Pulitzer’s assertions about me.
I’m not sure why Pulitzer has decided to start attacking me, but when I tried to use Google to get to his various websites, I think I see one reason: My blog posts about him and his websites come up before his own sites in Google searches for his name and those of his websites. (Your results may vary depending on your search history and Google’s algorithms.) For example, when I lost the link to the podcast, I had the damnedest time trying to use a search engine to call it up again and kept getting results from my own website. There’s a lesson in that for Pulitzer: Try having just one main website and filling it with quality content rather than having dozens of half-assed websites that dilute your impact and make it hard to find where your content is.
But to return to last night’s podcast: It was really something else, a twelve-minute rant in which Pulitzer accused me of being a paid shill, of not being qualified to opine on history, and of costing Nova Scotia “hundreds of millions of dollars” because of my criticism of Pulitzer.
For the record: I have never said that the sword was definitely modern, only that the known evidence strongly implied that it was and that it was incumbent on Pulitzer to provide evidence to overcome the presumption that the sword was either modern or deposited in modern times. Pulitzer, of course, channels his inner Glenn Beck and alleges a vast conspiracy of academics and journalists trying to suppress the “truth” about history.
First, Pulitzer demonstrated that he lacks reading comprehension skills. He mistakenly claims that the Chronicle Herald quoted me as an expert on Oak Island. The newspaper did not quote me at all. It merely mentioned me as someone who has written about the sword issue. Further, Pulitzer falsely claims that I worked with the Canadian reporter on the news story. I have never spoken to the reporter and knew nothing of the story until it was published. Third, Pulitzer alleges that I am paid (by whom he does not say) to criticize him, the History Channel, and Scott Wolter. I have never received payment from anyone for criticism of any of those three things. I have been paid ($250!) to criticize the ancient astronaut theory on the American Heroes Channel, and I made a modest $150 from a handful of paperback copies of my collection of America Unearthed episode reviews I sold. It was not, shall we say, one of my bestsellers. (My anthology Faking History and edition of Frazer on the Great Flood easily outsold it by wide margins.)
Pulitzer repeats throughout the podcast the claim that I am “paid to write hack jobs about history, always about the History Channel, always about the Curse of Oak Island.” That’s a laughable claim, since I actively avoided reviewing the Oak Island series because I thought it was too slow and boring! I cover hundreds of topics per year, and if I focus more on the History Channel than the Travel Channel, National Geographic Channel, Science Channel, or Destination America (all of which I have criticized), it is only because, as the name implies, the History Channel has more pseudo-history on it! At any rate, those posts are dwarfed by my investigations of Victorian claims and their impact on modern fringe history.
Pulitzer says that he is upset that I have written “hundreds of articles” criticizing fringe history in general and Oak Island in particular. But wait: I thought Pulitzer claimed in his previous podcast that he was to be believed because he is the “author of over 300 history and treasure books.” Suddenly volume doesn’t equate to credibility? Consistency is the hobgoblin of mediocre minds, but if my oeuvre is disqualifying, then his is absolutely fatal.
Pulitzer then alleges that I am “actually a science fiction expert who’s written a book about alien gods and stuff like that.” I suppose he didn’t bother to note that I am (among other things) an expert in horror rather than science fiction (they are not the same), that my book on “alien gods” was actually a history of pseudo-archaeology, or, more importantly, that I wrote a professionally published volume on Greco-Roman material, Jason and the Argonauts through the Ages, which, by dint of being a real book about actual Classical material, immediately makes me much more credible on the subject than Pulitzer, who has nothing comparable to show. Later, he revises his claim and says that I am a “science fiction writer,” which is only barely technically true in that I once wrote a single science fiction-themed horror story that was published in a minor anthology called Deep Space Terror in 2010. It’s like saying Pulitzer is “really” an expert in RadioShack investment strategies, since he took millions of dollars of their money that one time and then lost it. The total amount of fiction I’ve ever published totals, I think, around 15,000 words against 500,000 published nonfiction in print and 3 or 4 million online. Even my nonfiction work on the horror genre is at this point perhaps 10-20% of my total output.
Weirdly, Pulitzer then claims that he has no financial stake in the sword story and that the sword will bring “hundreds and hundreds of millions” in tourism dollars to Nova Scotia if only I and Andy White would stop standing in Pulitzer’s way of bringing the province into an economic golden age. So why then is he, who has actively attempted to sell a book called Commodus’ Secret based on this claim, so eager to project financial motives onto me? Did he purposely withdraw his Commodus’ Secret book from pre-order last week specifically so he can claim that he is not trying to make money off of the sword? It’s widely suspected that Pulitzer had hoped to parlay his TREASURE FORCE brand into a reality show when treasure hunting shows were all the rage in 2014 and 2015, and perhaps, now that he has changed his moniker from TREASURE FORCE COMMANDER to “The History Heretic,” we are witnessing another effort at reinvention to try to turn himself into a brand by appealing to a narrower but fringier segment of the audience: Eurocentric hyperdiffusionists rather than cranky old treasure hunters.
Another clue: According to the Chronicle Herald, Pulitzer has now given himself the scientific-sounding title of forensic historian, a clear echo of the title used by America Unearthed host Scott Wolter, forensic geologist.
The thing is that Pulitzer must know the actual facts behind the crazy quilt of half-truths he spouts. But for some reason he seems constitutionally incapable of avoiding hyperbole, whether it’s attacking me for fabricated reasons or falsely declaring that he won the nonexistent Smithsonian Laureate Award for the “Person Most Likely to Change Society as We Know It.” He just can’t help himself but to exaggerate at every turn. On the plus side, that certainly is a qualification for being a reality TV star!
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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