The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Saturday, January 03, 2004
 

Strom's miscegenation in print in 1972!


That the shock-horror tale of a segregationist's hypocrisy is shadow-play for the benefit of the tourists becomes more apparent with every day that passes.

Especially today, with a piece in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution by Jack Bass:

In October 1972, as Strom Thurmond's 70th birthday approached, hometown weekly editor W.W. Mims of the Edgefield (S.C.) Advertiser ran a headline that covered his front page in his largest type:
SEN. THURMOND IS UNPRINCIPLED --
WITH COLORED OFFSPRING -WHILE PARADING AS A DEVOUT
SEGREGATIONIST
The next week, on a day I spent covering Thurmond's nonstop campaigning for re-election, Mims ran a TV ad announcing his write-in candidacy while holding in front of him the provocative front page. As Columbia bureau chief for The Charlotte Observer, I had seen his newspaper. The TV ad now made his headline "news." As I wrote the story, with its potentially explosive subject (no other newspaper had a story the next day), I decided to stay with the Thurmond campaign for another day.

The next day I arrived at the Columbia airport at 6 a.m., joining his campaign manager and another reporter. As we walked out to board the plane, Sen. Thurmond stood outside holding a newspaper over his face, slowly lowering it as I approached.

He said to me, "Mr. Bass, do you know that repeating a libel is itself a libel?" He added that Mims "had better watch himself" but offered no denial of the allegation...


I looked on December 22 at the piece by Marilyn Thompson, the WaPo hack who started the Strom-Essie Mae craze off; Jack Bass was the guy who co-authored the unofficial 1998 biography of Strom Thurmond that had the story, but wasn't picked up by the media.

In his piece, Bass fills in his side of the story.

I can't believe that the libel laws - or some kind of self-denying ordinance on the part of the US media (including the National Enquirer!) - explains the slow burn. There must be some other reason why the common knowledge of Strom's home town took another thirty years to make prime-time.

(Did the Observer run any sort of piece off the back of the Advertiser's, back in 1972?)

The Edgefield Advertiser [1] is currently owned by Suzanne Gile Mims Derrick - daughter of WW Mims, I surmise. Sentimentalists will be pleased to know that WW is very much extant, serving now in the capacity of
Editor Emeritus & Columnist (Memories)
No kiddin'...

  1. The parsimony of whose online content needs to be sampled to be believed!

MORE

There is a Charlotte Observer piece online breaking the Strom-Essie Mae story: on December 14 2003 - reprinting Marilyn Thompson's WaPo piece!


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