A reader's letter to NPR
Reader and frequent commenter Alistair Mackay took issue with an interview on NPR this morning with Cokie Roberts, centered around the Trent Lott story. Alistair, an NPR subscriber, was ired enough to send off a letter to NPR regarding his feelings on the issue. It reads like a blog entry and should be a blog entry, and Alistair has given me permission to post his letter here:
As a dues-paying National Public Radio supporter, I was glad that today's "Morning Edition" included Cokie Roberts' analysis of Senator Trent Lott's situation. Roberts noted that the weeklong controversy has been fueled by conservative rather than liberal commentators. She then asserted that these
pundits object to Lott because he is an "institutionalist" and a "legislator" rather than a true-believing right-wing activist in the mold of Rep. Tom DeLay.
It's an interesting and important story. If true. I wouldn't know what motives lurk in the hearts of right-wing pundits. However, to Trent Lott's sorrow, Google makes it easy to recall what people actually say and write.
The "prominent," "conservative" commentators that I've read are Andrew Sullivan, Charles Krauthammer, Joshua Micah Marshall, and Glenn Reynolds. Recent brief quotes from the first two (plenty more where these come from):
Andrew Sullivan: "[Lott's Dec. 6 statement] was part of a pattern of consistently voting and speaking as if he did indeed regret desegregation. [It] was damaging precisely because it makes more sense of Lott's career in racial matters than any other plausible explanation."
Charles Krauthammer: "[Lott's behavior] is about getting wrong the most important political phenomenon in the last half-century of American history: the civil rights movement. Getting wrong its importance is not an issue of political correctness. It is evidence of a historical blindness that is utterrly disqualifying for national office."
Perhaps Sen. Lott's vile statements and craven spin-doctoring have stayed in the news because these analyses make sense to centrist voters like me. Perhaps the heart of this story is best captured by righty pundits, not mainstream media pontificators or collegial apologists (James Jeffords, Paul Simon).
Ms. Roberts might wish to name the commentators who have criticized Lott for his "institutionalist, legislative" tendencies, rather than for his despicable utterances on matters of race and history. If she can't point to any such pundits, she can always apologize for her "poor choice of words" this morning.
Suggestion: do it quickly, completely, and sincerely.
written by Alistair Mackay