Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 18, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

WELL, SOMEONE'S FROM MARS, ANYWAY....Here's a little break from nonstop political blogging. You all know Dr. John Gray, don't you? The author of Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus? Sure you do.

Well, it turns out that Dr. Gray is a bit, um, thin skinned. Gavin Sheridan, who runs a blog that gets about 500 hits a day, wrote a post last November in which he opined that Dr. Gray was a "fraud." Why? Because according to a post on buzz.weblogs, "The relationship guru who constantly promotes himself as 'Dr. John Gray' and lists a 'Ph.D.' has only one accredited degree, a high school diploma. Neither his BA nor his MA is from an accredited institution of higher education."

As with all blog posts, this one soon slipped into the archives never to be seen again. Except by Dr. John Gray, that is, who a few days ago had his lawyer send Gavin an email demanding a correction. "Dr. Gray received his Ph.D. from Columbia Pacific University ("CPU") in 1982. The school then, and continued to be for the next 15 years, a State of California-approved university."

Indeed. Do you see the bait and switch? Gavin's post says none of his degrees are from accredited universities. The lawyer's letter says only that Columbia Pacific was an approved university.

This is a considerable difference, since until 1989 pretty much anyone who felt like it could call themselves a university in the state of California. A few years after this changed, Columbia Pacific was shut down when it was found to be what is colloquially referred to as a diploma mill.

So then, was Columbia Pacific ever accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the accrediting body for western universities? And what about the Maharishi European Research University in Switzerland, where Gray got his BA and MA?

Nope. As the producers of Inside Edition verified in a show aired last November, none of these are accredited universities.

So what we have is Gavin Sheridan saying that Gray has no accredited degrees, which appears to be factually true. He believes this makes Gray a fraud, a vigorous opinion to be sure, but one that he seems entitled to hold under the circumstances. So why is Gray, a best-selling author worth millions of dollars, wasting his time trying to bully a little known blogger into "correcting" his post? Good question.

Gavin has two items up about this, here and here. Perhaps there's an attorney out in the crowd who can give him some good advice on how best to handle this. This business of threatening bloggers with specious complaints and hoping they can't fight back is getting a little old. As the warbloggers like to say, appeasement is just an invitation for more.

Kevin Drum 10:22 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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