CNN, Media Freak When GOP’s Rep. Scott Perry Accurately Ties KKK History To Democrats

Amazing.

As my NewsBusters colleagueCurtis Houck colleague Curtis Houck headlined: 

Election Interference: CNN Uses Audio of Private Briefing to Falsely Smear GOP’s Scott Perry

In which Curtis notes CNN’s Annie Grayer has a story based on audio of a private meeting involving, full disclosure, my very own Pennsylvania Congressman, Republican Scott Perry. In which it is alleged that “Perry told colleagues in a closed door briefing that:

The KKK in modern times, a lot of young people think somehow it’s a right-wing organization when it is the military wing of the Democratic Party. Decidedly, unabashedly, racist and antisemitic,” Perry said according to the recording.

Grayer added that “The KKK is not affiliated in any way with the modern Democratic Party.”

Grayer was not alone in flipping out at Perry’s remarks.

The Philadelphia Inquirer, the New Republic and The Daily Beast  and others in the liberal media jumped on this as well. The New Republic termed Perry’s remarks “bizarro” while The Daily Beast settled for “bonkers.”

In the Inquirer story the reporter quoted “Matt Jordan, director of the Pennsylvania State University News Literacy” who said that after its founding in 1865 by Democrats “it became an extra-legal terror organization that was never the wing of any political party.”

Where to start with this wildly ignorant understanding of basic American history?

The hard historical fact, per, among many, Columbia University historian Eric Foner is that the KKK was in fact “a military force serving the interests of the Democratic Party.” University of North Carolina historian Allen Trelease’s description of the Klan was as the “terrorist arm of the Democratic Party.”

Indeed, the Klan was so tied to the Democrats that the party’s 1924 Convention in New York City has been dubbed the “Klanbake” because so many of the delegates were Klan members. 

The Klan’s favorite for the presidential nomination that year was one William Gibbs McAdoo, who had served Democrat – and Klan supporter  – President Woodrow Wilson as Secretary of the Treasury. Wilson, recall, was such a staunch Klan supporter that he hosted a White House screening of the pro-Klan, decidedly racist Hollywood blockbuster Birth of a Nation.

The Klan hosted a massive convention rally for McAdoo across the Hudson River in New Jersey, replete with burning crosses. When one delegate had the temerity to introduce a resolution for the party platform condemning the Klan, it failed. 

Historian Linda Gordon, in her book The Second Coming of the KKK: The Ku Klux Klan of the 1920’s and the American Political Tradition writes: 

The results suggested not only how many supported the Klan but how many feared antagonizing it.  

In very recent American history, the late Senator Robert C. Byrd, a West Virginia Democrat, was the longest serving member in the entire history of the Congress. Byrd was also the “Exalted Cyclops” of the Klan. He was elected to lead Senate Democrats as both Senate Majority Leader and, in the minority, as Senate Minority Leader. 

In 1944, history records that Byrd wrote in a letter to a fellow segregationist Democratic Senator that: 

I shall never fight in the armed forces with a negro by my side … Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds.

And who gave the eulogy at Byrd’s funeral? That would be his friend, Delaware Senator Joe Biden.

All of which is to say, Congressman Scott Perry was 110% right to mention the tie between the Klan and the Democrats. In fact, segregation, a staunch pillar of the Klan’s platform, was nothing more than what is now quaintly called “identity politics.” Identity politics is, as it were, the son of segregation.

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