Monday, July 7, 2008

Good riddance, Jesse Helms

"De mortuis nil nisi bonum" still is the watchword in the conventional press whenever any loathsome historical figure kicks the bucket. When Jerry Falwell died last year, most newspapers treated his departure objectively if not respectfully, and it took the blogging corps to bury him with the truth about his nasty career.

The same thing seems to have happened with the death last Friday of Jesse Helms, the North Carolina senator whose antediluvian ideas about African Americans translated into some of the nastiest political race-baiting ever seen in American elections.

But today the Washington Post dusted off a stern 2001 column by David Broder, hardly a rabble-rousing leftist, written on the occasion of Helms's retirement from the Senate. It's not quite the same as having the courage to publish a new story with the truth, but at least it bears witness.

Ironically, Broder's piece appears along with a fawning one by Marc Thiessen, the White House speechwriter (and former Helms aide) calling the senator "a great man."

For the Post this is piously "pissing down both legs," as "presenting both sides of an issue" (as if there were only two!) used to be called in the newspaper racket.

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