June 3, 2019

QUESTION ASKED: Did American outlets refuse to publish the MLK sex transcripts?

David Garrow is an accomplished historian of the Civil Rights era, an experienced interpreter of FBI material, and a biographer of Barack Obama. He holds a Pulitzer Prize for his biography of King, and he also happens to be an erstwhile member of the Democratic Socialists of America. The ideas that Garrow is a sensationalist or that his MLK article is a ‘conservative’ hit job are ludicrous. But a chorus of academics have attacked Garrow in the Washington Post, one of the outlets which looked at but refused to publish his discoveries.

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No less appalling, if true, is Garrow’s claim that senior editors, almost all white and male, overruled their frequently female and non-white staff when it came to publishing his findings. Naming the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Guardian, and the Atlantic, Garrow alleges that the editors are afraid of being attacked as racist by Twitter mobs — a theory that seems to be confirmed by the Post’s attack on Garrow.

We might add that King is sacred to liberalism — perhaps so much a saint that the prelates of the press are covering up his feet of clay. Whether caused by misplaced paternalism, cowardice, or simple partisanship, this is a dereliction of journalistic duty. It’s hard to imagine the same newspapers demurring from running transcripts involving Richard Nixon or Donald Trump.

As Garrow says, the King transcripts are not about race. They are about the abuse of male power. In this season of #MeToo, the suppression of this story by major American newspapers, if that is what really happened, should be as much of a scandal as Garrow’s revelations themselves. Listen to this podcast, and judge Garrow and his methods for yourself.

And thus the limits of #MeToo. It was fine when middle-aged or elderly guys who were already losing their institutional power or cultural cachet such as Roger Ailes, Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, Woody Allen, Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer, Jann Wenner, and Kevin Spacey, et al were being demonized and/or airbrushed from history. But the DNC-MSM historical narrative is sacred. The new revelations about King are the ultimate example of Jim Treacher’s observation that:

Of course, as one of Rod Dreher’s readers wrote, it’s an extremely good thing that MLK isn’t being memory holed: “I hope Dr. King remains celebrated; I also hope that his sexual behavior (again, assuming this story is true) is not forgotten. And in the future, when someone on the Left advocates the abolition of Columbus Day, or the taking down of monuments to Washington or Jefferson or many less well-known figures, I hope that people bring up Dr. King, NOT in the spirit of ‘Whataboutism’, but in order to remind them that there is no incompatibility between celebrating the achievements of people in the past and acknowledging that those people had – as we all do – major flaws.”

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