SALTER – Recent NYT story on race distorted by lazy reporting

STARKVILLE — What an incredibly convenient story New York Times reporter Campbell Robinson dropped into Mississippi to write about the current political anemia of the Democratic Party in the South with the 2011 governor’s race in this state as the backdrop.

After what I’m sure was an exhaustive examination, Robinson concluded, as the headline on his story trumpeted: “For politics in the South, race divide is defining.” The gist of the story, like so many before it, is that the Republican “Southern Strategy” worked and that whites in the South won’t vote for Democrats because of race.

In what I’m certain was a matter of sheer coincidence, the Times reporter went to my hometown of Philadelphia to follow Democratic nominee Johnny DuPree’s campaign.

On the day in question, DuPree was speaking to the local Rotary Club. That laid the groundwork for the reporter to mention that the Ku Klux Klan murdered civil rights workers Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and James Chaney in Neshoba County in 1964 and that Ronald Reagan kicked off his successful 1980 campaign for president at the Neshoba County Fair.

Clarion Ledger