SATURDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2002
A WHOLE LOTT THEY CARE: Does your press corps care about Lott-and-race, or is this just an enjoyable frenzy? In fact, Lotts connections to the Council of Conservative Citizens were thoroughly reported in 1999. Several dozen articles appeared in the Washington Post alone. It was clear that Lott had extensive dealings with this very shaky group. It was also obvious that the solon was being less than frank on the subject.
There was little doubt about Lotts connections. Consider just one article, by Judy Pasternak in the Los Angeles Times (1/26/99). Pasternak started with a description of the CCC:
PASTERNAK: [I]ts Web site warns that blacks may burn down your cities and Third World immigrants are bringing their inferior cultures. The council publishes monographs too. One suggests that the United States be partitioned by race: the South to blacks, the Pacific Northwest to whites and the West Coast to Asian Americans.
Then she described Lotts connection:
The council claims 15,000 members nationally, including neo-Nazis from home and abroada fusion echoed in the stiff-armed salute to the Confederate flag that opens some of its meetings.
PASTERNAK (continuing directly): Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) maintained contact with the group by delivering convention speechesin 1991, 1992 and 1995and by welcoming top officials to his Washington office in 1997. Amid unfolding controversy, Lott has spent recent weeks dancing around details of his knowledge of the council and its extremist views.
Bervil Watson, Uncle Arnies wife, said she believes her nephew was aware of the councils mind-set all along, Pasternak wrote. Pasternak quoted Watson, Lotts aunt. Hes bound to have known the principles: being against black people, Watson said. If nothing else, he got it from my husband. But Lott was saying that he hadnt known. Pick out the weasel words, wont you?
Lott grew up with active council members, including his favorite uncle, Arnie Watson, and two cousins.
PASTERNAK: When news surfaced last month in the Washington Post that Lott had addressed the group, his press secretary said the senator had no straightforward recollection, although he may have appeared once while he served in the House from 1973 to 1989. When critics of extremist groups dug up more recent speaking dates, his spokesman said Lott had no firsthand knowledge of the groups agenda. When newspaper columnists decried Lotts council ties, his latest statement denounced white supremacist and racist views espoused by this or any other organization, giving no inkling of how much he knew.
To all appearances, Lott was dissembling. But this type of reporting produced little reaction among the nations high-minded pundits. The high-minded pundits who chase Lott now yawned back in 1999.
Why were your pundits so disengaged? Readers, they had bigger catfish to fry! As you may recall, your press corps was chasing Bill Clinton around, disturbed by his troubling ten blow jobs! And as soon as Clintons impeachment was done, did the pundits go back and investigate Lott? Of course not! Instead of looking at Lotts apparent dissembling, they began pretending that Gore was telling big lies. For example, they quickly invented the farm chores flapa straightforward, unvarnished press corps hoax. Waging war on Clintons successor was far more important than Lott.
By the way, can you spot the terrible liberal bias underlying this dim-witted tale? We cant make it out either. But make no mistakeyour celebrity press corps couldnt care less about Trent Lott and those race groups. They ignored the matter in 1999; instead, they conducted a War Against Gore, determined to pay back Vile Clinton. They invented tales about Gore for two years. E. D. Hilla nasty dissembleris busy inventing them still.
Readers, take what you like from the current frenzy your deeply dysfunctional press corps is staging. But dont let yourselves think, for even one minute, that their conduct is done in good faith. Your celebrity press corps couldnt care less about the facts of the Lott situation. Theyre doing this now because theyre bored. Take what you like from the work they produce. Dont fail to grasp their intentions.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN HOWARD KURTZ COWERS: We listened to a bit of Rush Limbaugh on Fridayenough to hear that Al Gores father is now routinely dismissed as a segregationist on that program. This morning, though, we really got to hear what happens when a man like Limbaugh is given free rein.
We were listening to the Bruce Elliott Show on WBAL in Baltimore. In the past five years, the station has increasingly pandered to Rush Nationand were sorry to say that Elliott, once a smart, cerebral conservative, has reinvented himself as a straight right-wing hack. Elliott feels that Lott should step down as majority leader, for political and for moral reasons. But when he took calls on the situation, we got a taste of the type of audience he has developed in the past several years.
The first caller offered a string of complaints about blacks, noting the way they defecate in the streets. Other callers were more restrained. But all recited the standard pointsthe Lott flap has been gimmicked by Democrats, and so on. And of course, all callers complained about the double standard applied in these situations to Dems.
Disinformation flowed down like a mighty stream. For example, Elliot said that Arkansas segregationist governor Orval Faubus had been Bill Clintons political mentor, an utterly ludicrous statement. And a caller channeled Rush and Sean nicely, telling WBALs misused listeners that Al Gore Sr. had been a vehement segregationist. Needless to say, Elliott didnt correct this howler. Neither did his guest, Richard Vatza fine man who surely ought to know better.
A vehement segregationist! On Thursday, we gave you the account of Gore Seniors career from Bob Zelnicks bio of Gore. (Zelnicks book was published by the conservative publisher Regnery.) According to Zelnick, Gore Seniors courage and decency on civil rights would inspire later generations of southerners who sought to purge the region of its terrible racial heritage (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 12/12/02). In his own Gore bio, The Prince of Tennessee, David Maraniss also hailed Gore Seniors civil rights leadership. Many of the deepest tensions of American race relations were played out during the long career of Sen. Gore, whose opposition to the segregated ways of his native South angered many of his constituents and eventually led to his political demise, he wrote. Then he described Al Gores dad at the start of his Senate career:
MARANISS: [H]ere is Sen. Gore on the floor of the U.S. Senate in 1956, taking a dramatic stand against the Southern Manifesto, calling it the most spurious, inane, insulting thing he has ever seen and declaiming Hell no! while waving away the segregationist document placed before him by colleague Strom Thurmond
There you see the vehement segregationist of Rush Limbaughs dissembling. For a fuller set of quotes from Maraniss and Zelnick, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 5/12/00. We wrote that piece almost three years agowhen the effort to slime Gores father on civil rights had just begun picking up steam.
With every gesture Gore made in support of civil rights came a mailbag of angry letters from segregationists. One year after denouncing the manifesto, he voted for the 1957 Civil Rights Act and further enraged racist constituents by nominating two young black students from Memphis for appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy. I was literally astounded to read that you had appointed two Negroes to the academy, wrote one voter who called himself Gores friend. It appears that some of your staff must have slipped up very badly to make such a mistake as this. While politely thanking the letter writer for calling this matter to my attention, Gore noted that Selective Service boards did not take race into consideration when calling young men for the draft and so it had not occurred to me that I should do so in the case of the Air Force Academy nominations.
Readers, Rush and his spawn are no longer content with sliming the living. Now they also must slander the dead. And why can their nasty work go on? Because of cowards like the Washington Posts Howard Kurtz, who would rather eat live worms in hell than stand up to the Limbaughs and the Elliotts. The Father Coughlins are mainstream nowKurtz has said so, right in the Postand they can spread all the disinformation they like, because they know that Kurtz will allow it. Make no mistakethe caller who described Gore Senior as a vehement segregationist doesnt know that hes been lied to by Rush. And he will never find out because cowards like Kurtz are simply too frightened to tell him.
The Limbaughs, the Hills, the Hannitys, the Elliottsthese people now run a wide swath of your discourse. They can deceive the public as much as they likebecause they know that Howard Kurtz just wont speak.