J. Hutton Pulitzer Demands "Biased" Media Listen to Him While He Deflects Hard Questions about "Roman" Sword
Earlier today I appeared on the Sheldon MacLeod Show on News 95.7 radio in Halifax, Nova Scotia, to discuss the “Roman” sword J. Hutton Pulitzer and the Curse of Oak Island have made famous over the past several weeks. We discussed the provenance of the supposedly ancient sword, J. Hutton Pulitzer’s involvement with it, and the confidentiality agreements put in place, as MacLeod notes, to try to preserve the mystery in order to generate higher ratings. Canada is apparently a few weeks behind the U.S. in Oak Island airings, and MacLeod said that the no one associated with the show was allowed to discuss the sword with him until after the episode airs in Canada. Lucky us: We get to hear all about it on Tuesday!
[Do you ever get the feeling that J. Hutton Pulitzer is making it all up as he goes along? In a podcast last night Pulitzer has adopted almost all of the tactics of the right wing outrage machine. He alleges that the U.S. and Canadian media are in cahoots with academic elites in order to suppress the truth. He went on a rant about how the media are biased against fringe history. “When the press decides to attack, are they attacking on facts or are they trying to distract you from the truth about history?” Pulitzer asked (more or less… my recollection might be a word or two off). He sounded pretty much like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, or other talk radio hosts, though with many more “ums” and “uhs.” To be entirely honest, I have no idea what Pulitzer was talking about through much of the podcast because, in his outrage, he simply assumes that the audience knows details about his interactions with media and media coverage that even I, who followed this closely, simply did not recognize, not least because I do not subscribe to Canadian tabloid magazines and have not read the article that got him so upset.
Anyway, Pulitzer called Mike Gorman, a journalist for Frank magazine, in a gonzo stunt where he tried to get Gorman to expose his “bias” in a piece published last week (to subscribers only) that questioned Pulitzer’s claims about the sword by recording and broadcasting two phonecalls he made to Gorman. [Update: As Andy White points out, the phone calls were actually about an earlier Pulitzer claim, about the Spear of Destiny, which Pulitzer deceptively implied were from the sword story.] Pulitzer and Gorman seemed to be speaking at cross-purposes, with Gorman telling Pulitzer than he gave him the opportunity to respond to direct questions in writing, which he declined to do, while Pulitzer maintained that the type was too small (!) and then insisted that Gorman remain on the phone to hear his rambling self-justification about why he cannot respond in writing on his cellphone due to the small size of the keyboard. Apparently Pulitzer, the self-described tech mogul and great inventor, did not know how to enlarge the text or respond via email from his laptop, or even respond by phone with direct answers.
Gorman hung up on Pulitzer twice, claiming that Pulitzer was too evasive in his non-answers, while Pulitzer sputtered about how Gorman needed to hear him talk regardless of the answers he would not provide. Pulitzer declared Gorman’s attempt to get Pulitzer to answer direct questions in writing on his own timeline and at whatever length he chose to use to respond to them an act of media bias. Since that is in no way an example of media bias, it’s evident that Pulitzer is simply drawing on talk radio tropes in the hopes of distracting his listeners.
But this wasn’t his only attack on his critics this week. In a missive he delivered on Medium.com this week, Pulitzer blasted his critics for investigating his past, arguing that it was not relevant to his claims about the alleged “Roman” sword he says will rewrite the history of Canada (or the U.S.; he isn’t always sure where Oak Island is). “As they have nothing to slash at yet, since they have not seen the upcoming peer-reviewed white paper, they are now attempting to attack my birth name and question my identity. I know, but they think it’s an important historical subject.” Pulitzer spent hundreds of words explaining why we shouldn’t hold his failed tech businesses like CueCat against him, and then in the same breath says that his own personal achievements, outside traditional academia, are the reason to believe him!
Sometimes it takes people from outside of the system to change it. This has been true in government, business, and yes even in history. If I have a degree in this and it is all based on lies and half truths, what good is my degree and what good will it be for me going forward. […] Since my career as a business leader, media producer, and inventor, I decided to follow my passion and true calling as an historic investigator, author of over 300 history and treasure books, technical consultant to the History Channel’s Curse of Oak Island, inventor of archaeological technologies, publisher of Investigating History Daily, host of History Heretic Radio show viewed by over 13 million, and given lectures and presented my research at academic conferences such as AAPS.
So which is it? Is it irrelevant and unfair to investigate Pulitzer’s past to judge his credibility, or are his past “accomplishments” (exaggerated though they are) the reason for his credibility? He wants to have it both ways, with all of the negative parts of his past declared void and the parts he likes heralded as proof of his self-confessed genius.
Nothing in Pulitzer’s past is directly relevant to judging whether the sword found in Nova Scotia is a genuine Roman artifact, but Pulitzer has made himself the story by asking us to accept his word for his claims and offering no evidence to support them. As a result, the only judgments we can make are judgments of whether to give Pulitzer’s assertions even minimal credence.
As I mentioned the other day, Pulitzer’s claims to credibility as a historian read like the puffery of a confidence artist. He is deliberately deceptive about all of his alleged accomplishments. Pulitzer claims, for example, to have written 300 history books since he started treasure hunting in 2002. The earliest book I’ve found is dated 2010, which means that he claims to write 60 books per year—more than one per week—which would mean he must compose more than 10,000 words per day to produce standard-length books. Of course that’s untrue; many of his books are simply cut-and-paste jobs that repeat content from other books and add a few pages of new material. His state-by-state treasure guides follow that model and account for the vast majority of his “300” books.
As for being a consultant for the History Channel: Big deal. I’ve been a consultant (paid or unpaid) with the History Channel, NatGeo UK, whatever the name of the history-themed channel in Canada is, and the American Heroes Channel. Giorgio Tsoukalos is the “consulting producer” on Ancient Aliens. In other words, it’s not exactly the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.
Being the “publisher” of Investigating History Daily, a website composed of links to other websites, is hardly a credential. My website covers history in more depth and with more original reporting than Pulitzer’s link farm, and the news sections of every fringe site from The Daily Grail to Ancient Origins to Graham Hancock’s website produce similar lists of daily links and commentary on the day’s history news.
Pulitzer claims 13 million listeners for his podcast, but there is no evidence of this from a reputable third party monitoring service. Yesterday’s podcast, for example, had two comments and 623 plays on SoundCloud as of this writing. The 13 million figure might be true, or it could simply be puffery based on total listens across platforms over the life of the podcast, which would count many of the same listeners multiple times. At worst, it’s possible on several platforms to buy fake listens from robot accounts. Again, without any sort of verification, there’s no way to evaluate Pulitzer’s claims, but the totals on SoundCloud don’t speak to 13 million unique listeners, even if we extrapolate them across his many different platforms.
1/15/2016 02:24:47 pm
Based on the moronic rambling of J. Hutton Pulitzer it would appear the best thing for him to do is follow the old Roman custom when things went bad and fall on his sword.
1/15/2016 11:21:22 pm
Dammit Clete, I had just placed a spoonful of Clam Chowder in my mouth, now I have to clean off my table and computer!
1/15/2016 02:32:36 pm
"...host of History Heretic Radio show viewed by over 13 million..."
1/15/2016 03:10:42 pm
Would it surprise you to learn that the majority of his audience just sits there drooling and staring blankly at the imperceptible vibrations of the speakers while his show is playing?
1/15/2016 03:40:32 pm
Not at all.
1/15/2016 05:58:39 pm
He could do both. Admit that the sword is a replica. Keep on claiming it is genuine to believers.
1/15/2016 02:35:24 pm
Since Pulitzer can't intimidate the media through threats of lawsuits, he's decided to channel his inner Hancock and throw a royal bitchfit.
1/15/2016 03:04:04 pm
When the sword is declared a replica he'll simply use this as further proof of an academic/media conspiracy to undermine his credibility and suppress the truth...you know...business as usual for fringe theorists. In Pulitzer's mind this sword is authentic and NO amount of proof will ever force him to accept reality. Like some people regarding the Shroud of Turin. Pulitzer will find ANY inconsistency in the sword, even if he has to fabricate something, that will allow him to continue presenting it as an authentic Roman artifact.
1/15/2016 03:57:17 pm
i look forward to his 'peer-reviewed' paper. I just assume his peers are the likes of Hancock, Von Danikin, Redfern and other purveyors of crap pseudo-science.
1/15/2016 05:50:46 pm
"whatever the name of the history-themed channel in Canada is"
1/16/2016 01:19:47 am
...I'm guessing he didn't remember the name because it's "History Canada," and he was trying to remember a different name. It happens, and it's not xenophobic. And since it's an ENGLISH-LANGUAGE CHANNEL, you're the one being stereotypical, sir or madam, in assuming that Canadian == French.
1/15/2016 06:23:16 pm
For clarification, the show airs in Canada the Sunday following the Tuesday it airs in the US - not a few weeks later. There are easy ways to watch it on the net, typically Wednesday morning after the Tuesday night show.
1/15/2016 06:35:10 pm
I was going by what MacLeod told me. It seems he was a bit off on the schedule.
1/15/2016 06:52:50 pm
How can the sword be dated? No carbon 14 testing so besides looking at design how can u date a piece of metal? I'm not sure? Romans in Nova Scotia. And not a word of it from all those Roman writers
1/15/2016 09:14:31 pm
Without the artifact being found in place with an undisturbed site, there is little way of doing association with any dateable objects to associate with. We do not know where the object was allegedly found, by whom or when. Much like the parade of rune stones of dubious fame.
1/16/2016 01:35:08 am
Actually, there are a number of methods. Carbon 14 is only one of a number of radiometric dating techniques that are all pretty similar, just using different substances to look at. Most of them are generally applied to rocks, though. I'm not sure which ones might be applicable to worked metal, since forging chemically alters it.
1/16/2016 05:23:53 am
Using Radiocarbon Dating to Establish the Age of Iron-Based Artifacts
1/16/2016 09:45:50 am
I was not aware that RC might be applied to iron objects, but if the sword in question is copper alloy-bronze? I'm not an archeologist, but worked with an underwater archaeologist James Delgado as a co-worker many years ago. My technical knowledge is novice as best, so would be interested in learning more.
1/16/2016 09:42:16 pm
I wasn't aware that radiocarbon dating could be done on forged items. That's interesting to know. With this particular item, though, it would be useless, since the thing has been handled so often, which changes the carbon ratios immensely.
1/19/2016 10:32:32 pm
Send the sword to Abby c/o NCIS to run through "General Mass Spec".
1/15/2016 07:45:37 pm
It is better than this. The audio where he's talking to Gorman and Gorman is hanging up on him? That's from an interview a while ago, for a totally different story. It's intended to appear as though it's directly related to this week's story, but it's not.
1/15/2016 09:19:14 pm
Wait till you hear tonight's podcast in which he asserts that the two of us are paid by some unseen force to criticize him.
1/15/2016 09:44:16 pm
I have attempted to locate the on line application for Paid Shill of the Academic Conspiracy without success. Can you please provide me a link?
1/16/2016 01:43:00 am
Don't be ridiculous, Killbuck. You can't become a PAID Shill without going though an Unpaid Internship for Shill first, and you have to do that through your local university at the cost of Ridiculous Sums.
1/16/2016 05:21:21 am
Not even against Politcally Correct academia.
1/16/2016 07:22:55 am
lol really, I thought it was funny how FRANK magazine aka a tabloid, would repeatedly hang up on him for not answering questions, you know your bad when frank magazine hangs up n you, sounds like JHP is on the defense and lashing out, oh I have been ousting him on youtube and other places, how do I get paid for it? lol
1/15/2016 08:09:05 pm
I get a serious L. Ron Hubbard vibe from Pulitzer. They even look similar. The quasi military organization, the hilariously exaggerated resume and "inventor" credentials tinged with miscellaneous charlatan babble --- it's kind of eerie actually.
1/16/2016 05:25:28 am
I am sure that Hubbard was a lot more realistic, however...
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