Prospect magazine and Foreign Policy magazine are conducting a poll for the world's top public intellectual. The long list of 100 candidates is here (A-K) and here (L-Z). You can cast your vote here; and there is an accompanying article by Christopher Hitchens here.
The magazines ran this exercise once before, in 2005. The winner was Noam Chomsky. Prospect's brief biography of Chomsky notes: "Winner of the 2005 global intellectuals poll, soon afterwards he defended himself against his critics in Prospect." I hope the article linked to will be scrutinised by voters in this year's poll, for reasons that my more longstanding readers may recall.
Chomsky's defence against his critics was a reply to an article by me. To accompany the results of the poll, Prospect had published a pro-Chomsky piece (by Robin Blackburn) and a critical piece by me. You can read them here. One of the points I had made against Chomsky concerned his unscholarly and often dishonest handling of source material. Wondrously, in replying to this charge, Chomsky did exactly and in full public view what I'd accused him of doing. He lied about a published source - in this case, one that he'd written.
I summarised the story in this post a few months ago. To this day, I have no idea what Chomsky imagined he was doing. Perhaps he thought I wouldn't have his book in front of me, or that no one would check it, or that he was so important that Prospect would allow him the last word on the matter. In any event, it surprised me. It's one thing to know that Chomsky has been trading for decades on an unwarranted reputation for informed and scrupulous political analysis. It's another to see him come out with a whopping fib directly to me, and in response to an accusation of dishonesty.
Incidentally, you have an option, when voting, to suggest an additional candidate who is not included on the long list. I wished for the inclusion of Conor Cruise O'Brien on that list, but he has not made it. I'm thus pleased to see O'Brien is mentioned by Christopher in his commentary as one whom the magazines might reasonably have included. Let me recommend you consider adding the name of the great Irish historian, statesman and polymath.