‘Right’ and very wrong


One of the disadvantages to replacing experienced staff with cheaper-to-hire youngsters is the free rein it can give to galloping ignorance. A story about three men who attempted to enter Parliament while wearing, respectively, a motorcycle helmet, a niqab and a Ku Klux Klan hood would seem to make that point. Appearing beneath the byline of Fairfax Media’s Latika Burke, the account of that protest includes this paragraph:

“The Ku Klux Klan is a secretive, far-right organisation that has been responsible for violence against black Americans.”

Good heavens but our education system needs an overhaul! Whichever wet-behind the-ears subeditor inserted that paragraph — Burke could not possibly be so stupid and still find her way to work every day — has made mincemeat of fact and history.

The Klan is secretive? No, in its heyday tens of thousands attended its rallies and did so quite openly.

The Klan is a “far-right organisation”? This would have come as a surprise to Harry Truman, who later had the good grace to admit he joined only because so many of his fellow Democrats were members and he needed their votes to win his first primary. The late Senator Robert Byrd, a Democrat, was a keen member, and fellow Democrat Strom Thurmond, while never a card-carrier, was an enthusiastic supporter on Capitol Hill, where he and his cross-burning colleagues fought bitterly against any and all efforts to desegregate the US. Only by the most stretched and distorted definition could so-called Dixiecrats, like George Wallace, be described as coming from the right.

The Klan is responsible for “violence against black Americans? Well, yes it has been and lots of it, but African-Americans were far from its only victims. Blacks, Jews and Catholics also saw their share of burning crosses, especially during the Twenties, when Truman signed his pledge to defend the white race.

If they taught a better, more accurate history in our schools, the person responsible for that paragraph would have understood that almost every prominent supporter of the Klan was a Democrat, that Abraham “The Great Emancipator”  Lincoln was a Republican, and that not a single Republican governor was elected in the Klan’s southern home turf for more than one hundred years after the Civil War.

An educated writer or sub would know all that. Then again, an educated writer or sub would never have been hired by Fairfax in the first place.

To read more of the Canberra protest follow the link below.







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