Helms vs. Byrd at the NYT

Reporter Carl Hulse flips through former conservative Sen. Jesse Helms' memoir, "Here's Where I Stand." The headline accurately captures the loaded nature of the review: "In Memoir, Jesse Helms Says He Was No Racist."

Hulse begins: "Former Senator Jesse Helms defends his record on race relations and explores his role in the rise of the modern conservative movement in a new memoir that reserves some of its harshest words for the news media."

Hulse brings up some of Helms' most controversial moments: "In his book, he disputes the idea that he injected racial politics into one of those re-election bids -- his 1990 contest against Harvey Gantt, a former mayor of Charlotte and a black man who supported a civil rights measure that Mr. Helms and other conservatives said could lead to job quotas. Late in the close fight, the Helms campaign broadcast a commercial that showed the hands of a white person crumpling an employment rejection letter while the announcer said the position had to go to a minority applicant. Mr. Helms's book does not discuss the imagery in that commercial but said the advertisement was created by his advisers 'to help voters understand the practical reality of the law Gantt favored.'"

By contrast, the Times ignored the recent memoir of an even more racially controversial senator still serving: Ex-Klansman (and fiercely anti-Bush Democrat) Sen. Robert Byrd.

The Washington Post devoted a front-page piece to Byrd's book in June, headlined "A Senator's Shame: Byrd, in His New Book, Again Confronts Early Ties to KKK."

The Times' preferred method of Byrd-watching is more respectful.
Congress New York Times
Clay Waters's picture

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