Tagged: Bennie Thompson

Advocacy Journalism Runs Wild at The Clarion Ledger

 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

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The Earth Is Flat According to Bennie Thompson

Bennie Thompson: Mississippi’s “lone voice of reason

Previously, items in this category were headlined, “Has the world gone nuts?” A change is necessary and with the publishing of this post, the new category will be headlined, “The Earth is Flat.”

On Friday, Feb. 6, the USA TODAY insert in The Clarion-Ledger contained an article about three black congressmen. That wasn’t enough. On Sunday the same article was run on the front page of The Clarion-Ledger. The three congressmen were Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina, Rep. Cedric Richmond of Louisiana, and Mississippi’s own Rep. Bennie Thompson. The article said that when Congress is in session, the three members dine together each night at the same table at the National Democratic Club, which is just three blocks south of the Capitol. It was noted that the three black congressmen are the only Democratic members of the U.S. House from their respective states. But here’s the best part of the article: Bennie Thompson was quoted as saying, “It’s tough being the lone voice of reason from your state.” Now, that statement should certainly be cause for laughter from readers and without question deserves to be included in “The earth is flat” category.

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Harper, Palazzo Split on Vote to Help Syrian Rebels

The U.S. House had two important votes on Wednesday of last week. THOMAS (Congress.gov) is the official website for legislative information and is maintained by the Library of Congress. On the site you can not only get detailed information on the U.S. Senate and House and their members, but you can find all roll call votes of every member of Congress.

The first vote Wednesday was on an amendment to a bill that would fund the government until Dec. 11 or after the November elections. As most people know this is commonly called a continuing resolution (CR), which allows the government to operate after the fiscal year ends on Sept. 30 when all the necessary appropriation bills have not passed the House and Senate. Funding during the term of the continuing resolution will be at current levels for this fiscal year.

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