The Mississippi Flag issue
Let me get a couple of things out of the way. When the vote to change our state’s flag took place in 2001, I had left Mississippi and was living in Washington, D.C. If I still lived in Mississippi I probably would have voted, like an overwhelming majority of Mississippians, to keep the existing state flag. I have never considered the state flag or the Confederate battle flag to be racist. It has sickened and disgusted me to see the KKK and other white supremacist groups co-op the flag. At an early age I was fascinated by Civil War history and read as much as I could about the Civil War. Today, my personal library has more than a hundred books dealing with the Civil War. As yes, some of the titles are even about Lincoln, Grant and Sherman. There are very few of the major Civil War battlefield parks in the nation I haven’t visited. An ancestor, John C. Breckinridge, was vice president of the United States but was later a major general in the Confederate States of America army, and later Secretary of War for the CSA. Of course, Breckinridge was wrong when he defended slavery before and during the war. Of course, he was right in 1870 when he denounced the Ku Klux Klan.
Flag hysteria in the press
The nine murders in Charleston were a horrible tragedy. The alleged killer is clearly a twisted, racist redneck. That doesn’t justify the mass hysteria in the media about the Confederate flag. The terrible murder of innocent black church goers in South Carolina is no cause for massive advocacy journalism concerning the state flag in Mississippi. As far as the press in concerned, during more than 20 years as a journalist, I have had no problem with newspapers taking an editorial stance, even when those opinions were contrary to my own. My problem is when obvious bias creeps into the news pages. Few newspapers are as guilty of advocacy journalism than our state’s largest newspaper, The Jackson Clarion Ledger. On Wednesday, the CL online home page had nine headlines dealing with the flag issue and the “Right Now” section contained three stories. Thursday’s print edition front page had only three stories, all dealing with the flag. Friday’s lead story on the top half of the front page was about the newspaper’s survey of state legislators