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June 30, 2010

(Un)Equal Treatment by The Press

Kevin E. Dayhoff

A short 47-word statement on Sen. Robert C. Byrd’s, (D., WV) website simply said: “The family of U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd,… tearfully announces the passing of the longest serving member of Congress in U.S. history. He was 92.


“Byrd died peacefully at approximately 3 a.m. at Inova Fairfax Hospital. Further details will be made available as soon as possible.”


That short statement contrasts greatly with the legendary eloquent oratory of the gentleman known for his extraordinarily long speeches in which he would wax poetically about the history of England and Greece, and traditions of the Senate – both the American and Roman Senate.


Of course, some of his legendary ability to stand and speak for hours on end is not necessarily the stuff of which to be proud.


It was Senator Byrd who, according to a history published by the U.S. Senate, “At 9:51 on the morning of June 10, 1964, Senator Robert C. Byrd completed an address that he had begun 14 hours and 13 minutes earlier. The subject was the pending Civil Rights Act of 1964…”


For those who study history, Senator Byrd – a Democrat – spoke in opposition to the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964.


There is much to be admired in Senator Byrd, Nov. 20, 1917 – June 28, 2010. And to be certain, you will hear and read about his fascinating life in glowing terms by the liberal media in the next several weeks to come.


Perhaps that is as it should be.


I was horrified to read what The Daily Caller writers Mike Riggs and Amanda Carey wrote Monday that “Sen. Robert Byrd not only was a KKK member but led his local Klan chapter:


“Deceased U.S. Sen. Robert Byrd will be remembered by lots of things: His love for dogs and hyperbole, his ability to funnel federal dollars into make-work jobs in his native West Virginia, his loathing of balanced budgets and the fact that he skillfully conned several generations of Appalachian woodhicks into voting for him, over and over again, for almost six decades. In passing, Sen. Byrd will also be remembered for having joined the Ku Klux Klan as a ‘young man.’ ”


I object to the term “woodhicks.” The rest of the paragraph is accurate.


Memo to conservatives: if you discover that you are going to die soon, switch parties. Revisionist historians, the liberal media, and Democrats will then say glowing things about you. It is nothing short of a miracle.


Clay Waters wrote in “Democrats and Double Standards: 'Respected Voice' Robert Byrd vs. 'Foe of Integration' Strom Thurmond,” in the Media Research Center’s TimesWatch, on Monday:


The [New York] Times marked the death early Monday morning of veteran Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia, who served a record 51 years in the U.S. Senate, with an online obituary by former Times reporter Adam Clymer.


“While acknowledging Byrd's Klan past and his pork-barrel prodigiousness… The headline was hagiographic: “Robert Byrd, Respected Voice of the Senate, Dies at 92.”


“While Clymer's opening statement on Byrd wasn't exactly laudatory, it did not match the paper's (New York Times’) hostile treatment of the passing of two veteran Republican senators accused of racial prejudice: Sen. Strom Thurmond, of South Carolina, and Sen. Jesse Helms, of North Carolina.


Remember, both Senators Helms and Thurmond were Democrats during the heyday of their race politics. They later switched to the Republican Party, the wrong way to switch if you wish to be given any respect by the liberal media when you die.


It was Mr. Clymer who also wrote the obituary for Sen. Strom Thurmond (R., SC) on June 27, 2003. Compare the title of former Klansman – Senator Byrd’s tribute – with that of Senator Thurmond: “Strom Thurmond, Foe of Integration, Dies at 100.”


On July 4, 2008, Senator Helms passed away. Mr. Waters noted that Steven Holmes wrote Senator Helms’ obituary. “The initial online headline, ‘Battled Against Civil Rights and Foreign Aid,’ was transformed in Saturday's print edition to the less-hostile ‘Jesse Helms, Unyielding Beacon of Conservatism, Is Dead at 86.’ ”


Mr. Holmes’ introductory paragraph read: “Jesse Helms, the former North Carolina senator … who turned his hard-edged conservatism against civil rights, gay rights, foreign aid and modern art, died early Friday...”


I mean, never mind that according to Mr. Riggs and Ms. Carey: “Byrd joined the Klan at the ripe young age of 24 — hardly a young’un by today’s standards, much less those of 1944, when Byrd refused to join the military because he might have to serve alongside ‘race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds,’ according to a letter Byrd wrote to Sen. Theodore Bilbo at the height of World War II.


“Today’s obituaries, however, made little mention of Byrd’s once-deeply held hatred for African Americans.”


I wonder why? Oh, that’s right – Senator Byrd stayed with the Democrat Party.


The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register wrote yesterday: “Byrd would organize a local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan in Stotesbury, W.Va.…


“In more recent years, Byrd later expressed regret over his actions. No one could have predicted in 1964 that 44 years later Byrd would endorse Democratic presidential nominee U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. – who would go on to become the first African-American U.S. president.”


To forgive is divine; to forget is not my policy. Yet, the service to our country of the likes of Sens. Ted Kennedy (D., MA) Byrd, Helms and Thurmond is to be respected and admired.


I believe in the power of redemption and admire the ability of Americans to forgive. In spite of my misgivings about portions of the careers of all four of these great Americans, I share in celebrating their life stories.


I just wish the liberal media would do the same and treat everyone with equal dignity and drop the biased agenda-driven partisan politics.


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