On Monday, NBC News broke what some media and political commentators viewed as a blockbuster story about Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) involving the slave-owning history of some of his ancestors.
The report centered around searches done of McConnnell’s family history by way of “ancestry and census records.” Here’s what they found:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who said recently he opposes paying government reparations to the descendants of American slaves, has a family history deeply entwined in the issue: Two of his great-great-grandfathers were slave owners, U.S. census records show.
The two great-great-grandfathers, James McConnell and Richard Daley, owned a total of at least 14 slaves in Limestone County, Alabama — all but two of them female, according to the county “Slave Schedules” in the 1850 and 1860 censuses.
The details about McConnell’s ancestors, discovered by NBC News through a search of ancestry and census records, came in the wake of recent hearings on reparations before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. Asked about the reparations issue, McConnell, R-Ky., said he was opposed to the idea, arguing it would be hard to figure out whom to compensate.
Even if you hadn’t read the story itself, the headline and subheadline to it tell you all you need to know about why the story was done in the first place: To shame the Senator for taking what the news network views as a conveniently calculated position against reparations:
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) was incredulous that NBC News even found this to be newsworthy:
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) July 9, 2019
Former Red State managing editor Erick Erickson – now the editor at The Resurgent, called this story out for what it is:
There literally is no journalistic or newsworthy purpose for this article except to apply pressure on McConnell to not block slave reparations legislation. There is none. As the article itself notes,
Louis Cain, professor emeritus at Loyola University Chicago and an expert on the economics of slavery, said more Americans have been stained by slavery than they realize. “I suspect with the mobility of the American population in the 20th and 21st centuries, most of us have ancestors that owned slaves, including many individuals who did not arrive until well after the Civil War,“ Cain said. “The responsibility for what happened was collective, not individual.”
This completely undermines the purpose of the article. If the responsibility is collective, singling out McConnell is ridiculous, but that’s exactly what NBC News is doing because it is not reporting news. It is working to advance the hucksters’ reparations agenda.
Similar point made here:
Found buried in the last paragraph: “I suspect with the mobility of the American population in the 20th and 21st centuries, most of us have ancestors that owned slaves.”
So… how is this news if most of us have ancestors that owned slaves? https://t.co/biVOBMKAF6
— Jake Cox (@GOPJake) July 8, 2019
The journalism community – both inside and outside of NBC, were quick to share, write up their own versions, and/or praise the report and defend the journalists behind it from accusations of an agenda.
Here’s NBC News digital reporter Jon Allen trying to justify the report:
McConnell controls the Senate agenda and recently came out against reparations, citing the civil war — along with civil rights and the election of a black president — as evidence that “we’ve tried to deal with our original sin of slavery” already.
— Jonathan Allen (@jonallendc) July 9, 2019
Tim Perone is an assistant managing editor for NBC News digital:
Great digging here by @csiemaszko: The details about McConnell’s ancestors, discovered by NBC News through a search of ancestry and census records, came in the wake of recent hearings on reparations. https://t.co/oT8ke93MMD
— Tim Perone (@timperone) July 8, 2019
Here’s NBC News correspondent Morgan Radford, in one of the more obvious displays of agenda-driven journalistic commentary:
— Morgan Radford (@MorganRadford) July 8, 2019
Move along, no agenda to see here.
Clay Travis notes that the Louisville Courier‘s headline was arguably worse than NBC‘s:
How do people expect the media to be trusted with headlines like these? This is pathetic @USATODAY. This headline makes it sound like it just happened. Mitch McConnell’s ANCESTORS owned slaves over 150 years ago. How is this even a story? pic.twitter.com/fw8o0O8fwP
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) July 9, 2019
Key point from John Hayward and others surrounding this story:
The bad faith of the insinuation that McConnell cannot honestly or morally oppose a very bad policy idea today because of something his "ancestors" did is breathtaking. https://t.co/geUpbTWE7I
— John Hayward (@Doc_0) July 9, 2019
I look forward to the follow up article "Senate Majority Leader disapproves of a woman's right to choose despite half of his lineal ancestors being women"
— Kyle Beckley (@Kyle_Beckley) July 9, 2019
And how convenient was the timing of this story? Very, very convenient:
Wait, Sooo… a hit piece on Mitch McConnell's great-grandfather owning slaves came out THE DAY BEFORE Amy McGrath got a huge push for announcing she'd run against him?
THE COMPLETELY UNBIASED FREE-PRESS HAS REMARKABLE AND UNCANNY TIMING!
— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) July 9, 2019
Full push from NBC/MSNBC trying to boost Mitch McConnell’s opponent: friendly interview on Morning Joe (pinned tweet!), weird oppo drop about McConnell’s ancestors yesterday, supportive tweets from staff pushing her announcement video pic.twitter.com/lUAnHHzqQq
— Logan Dobson (@LoganDobson) July 9, 2019
Here are some more burning questions the mainstream media won’t answer about this story:
there are Democrats in McConnell's family line?? https://t.co/6keAgO7Pt7
— T. Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) July 9, 2019
Just wait until reporters investigate which political party fought for slavery, voted against emancipation, founded the KKK, established Jim Crowe laws & fought against the Civil Rights Act.
(Hint: The Democratic Party)
That story will be a bombshellhttps://t.co/6Dprf1vbgl
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) July 9, 2019
Related: If the mainstream media are so good at digging into family histories, how did they so badly botch the Sen. Elizabeth Warren fake Native American heritage story?
So you guys **do know how to “search ancestry and census records” it seems… pic.twitter.com/A87O3GoWEA
— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) July 9, 2019
Doing a quick scan of reactions to the story last night and today on social media and other websites, I was pleasantly surprised to see how many rank and file leftists (not the ones who are perpetually outraged) say they didn’t think story was fair to McConnell. ‘Blaming him for the sins of his ancestors isn’t right’ was the key take away I got from much of what I read in the comments.
It’s very obvious why the media ran this story. NBC News and their defenders can try to explain it away all they want to, but it’s very clear what the agenda was here – and it wasn’t to advance objective journalism.
— Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter. –