This is how Katherine Gregg opened a recent article about a political event hosted by left-wing officials and activists in Rhode Island:
“Racist.” “Bigot.” “Uniquely unqualified.”
These and other harsh epithets filled a Community College of Rhode Island classroom on the south side of Providence on Monday as public officials, social-justice activists and trial lawyers recalled the public statements made over the last 30 years by President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to be the next attorney general of the United States: Republican U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama.
As excellent as Gregg’s reportage often is, this article is simply irresponsible, and it ran on the front page of the Tuesday, December 20, issue of the paper. There’s no counterpoint or context. The progressives — specifically the far-far-left U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, who has been known to be a key organizer of political hackery — simply held a political event, and the state’s leading newspaper treated it as real news on its front page, stoking social division and tarring a specific Republican and an incoming administration.
Indeed, Gregg gave Whitehouse another whoop for the event in Friday’s paper. Note the following (emphasis added):
Earlier in the week, Whitehouse hosted a discussion about Trump’s attorney general nominee, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, in anticipation of a confirmation hearing, by the Senate Judiciary Committee on which he sits, in January. The comments were, without exception, negative.*
This was designed to be a bashing event. Why would any comments be positive if only people who would say negative things were invited? One can understand why a radical politician would set up such event, but it ought to be the stuff of fever-dream progressive blogs to report on it at face value.
Gregg would have had no problem finding significant context, like these few lines from “The Week” blurb section of the most recent print edition of National Review magazine:
Before being elected to the Senate, Sessions served as Alabama’s attorney general and as U.S. attorney for Alabama’s southern district, during which time he helped to desegregate Alabama schools and oversaw the prosecution of Henry Francis Hays, the head of the state’s branch of the Ku Klux Klan, for the murder of a black teenager, Michael Donald. Hays was ultimately executed, and a $7 million civil judgment against the Klan helped crush the group in Alabama.
“Racist.” “Bigot.” “Uniquely unqualified.” Indeed. The only question is whose shame should be greater in Rhode Island, the senator’s or the journalist’s.
* One should note that the lie is put to this assertion by Gregg’s own reporting of the event, in which she writes that “Whitehouse cited two positives about Sessions.”