It seems that the Democrats are now claiming, via the vehicle of an article in Salon Magazine, that Sen. George Allen used the N-word in his college football playing days. In all “fairness,” Salon contacted 19 of George Allen’s former teammates and they stated that he did not use that word or act in a racially insensitive manner. If Salon contacted them and found this to be the teammates’ story, then why did they publish the charge in the first place?
Tom Riehl has found additional reason to doubt the story.
The New York Times, never one to miss a chance to publish an unverified and unverifiable story—if it makes a Republican look bad—repeated the story in print. So did the Washington Post, the major national paper closest to Sen. Allen’s state of Virginia, one widely read in vote-rich northern Virginia. I personally don’t believe the charge, but that is both my political prejudice—and the fact that this is a hearsay charge, i.e., with no proof coming forward that would hold up either in court or in a publication with higher standards of fact checking than the New York Times. By that I mean such publications as The Weekly Reader and The National Enquirer, as well as major newspapers. But while we’re on the subject of politicians and the N-word, a few minutes on the internet comes up with some interesting non-hearsay about some prominent Democrats. First we have this from the April 19, 2006 Kansas City Star. I edited the full spelling of the N-word in the book title.
“Randall Kennedy’s 2002 book, N-word: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word, generates a lot of anxiety. I know now why a federal judge said he had someone else pick up the book for him.”
‘But Kennedy said Presidents Harry S. Truman and Lyndon Johnson used the word in private conversations, “and yet both surprised observers by taking unprecedented steps to elevate the fortunes of Negro Americans.” ’
I recall seeing Julian Bond on a PBS television show talk about Pres. Johnson slipping and using the N-word in his presence and then apologizing. I can’t cite sources for that specific incident, but I do have the Kansas City Star story above. Then there is the matter of Sen. Byrd using the N-word in a March 4, 2001 Fox television interview. As Free Republic stated at that time,
“You read that right: the man who was at that time the President Pro Tempore of the U.S. Senate—third in line to the presidency of the United States—used the “N-word” on national television. TWICE.
“Oh, he issued a written apology by the next day. But the episode barely got a mention in the major news media, and was never condemned by the Congressional Black Caucus, the NAACP, Rainbow/PUSH, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, or any other leading civil rights group or leader. Tom Daschle, Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters, Kweisi Mfume—none of them issued a single press release on this incident.”
Then we have, in 2001, California Lt. Governor and Democrat Cruz Bustamante using the N-word before a group of black trade unionists. A Mother Jones article claims it was unintentional and I will give him that. It is very understanding of them, but it definitely shows a state of mind. Mr. Bustamante still today holds his high office.
So what can we conclude? To me, it looks like a case of selective outrage. And outrage against an unproved and possibly unprovable claim.