NY Times Once Thought 'Toxic' Woodrow Wilson Was 'A Man of High Equipment for the Office'

November 27th, 2015 2:46 PM

James Taranto at The Wall Street Journal often tackles newspapers contradicting themselves under the headline “Two Papers in One!” Wednesday’s edition, though, went back to point out that the sudden revulsion at Woodrow Wilson’s racism is at odds with The New York Times editorial page arguing  in favor of Wilson for President back in those times.

Now Wilson represents a "toxic legacy" of unapologetic racism, but in 1912 , the Times oozed over him as "a man of high equipment for the office, worthy of the full confidence of the people.” To wit:

-- “The first and vital object to be accomplished to-day is the election of Woodrow Wilson. . . . It has for many years been desirable that political power in the Nation should be transferred from the Republicans to the Democrats. The desired transfer has been postponed because the Democratic Party has wandered in strange places, has committed itself to unsafe doctrines under distrusted leaders. That has been cured. The Democracy has returned from its wanderings, it is again a united party, and the candidate . . . stands before the country a man of high equipment for the office, worthy of the full confidence of the people.”—editorial, New York Times, Nov. 5, 1912.

-- “Reflecting on the incredible and unprecedented forces of chaos with which [Wilson] has had to contend, we think that his leadership has justified itself and that Mr. Hughes’s plea to the country to replace it by his own is futile and not without a touch of impudence.”—editorial, New York Times, Oct. 23, 1916.
– “Student protesters at Princeton performed a valuable public service last week when they demanded that the administration acknowledge the toxic legacy of Woodrow Wilson. . . . He was an unapologetic racist whose administration rolled back the gains that African-Americans achieved just after the Civil War, purged black workers from influential jobs and transformed the government into an instrument of white supremacy. . . . The protesters’ top goal—convincing the university to rename the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the residential complex known as Wilson College—has drawn heavy fire from traditionalists. . . . The overwhelming weight of the evidence argues for rescinding the honor that the university bestowed decades ago on an unrepentant racist.”—editorial, New York Times, Nov. 25, 2015