Heaviest Fallout Came 7 to 8 Days after Lott Spoke

By McClelland, John | The Masthead, Spring 2003 | Go to article overview

Heaviest Fallout Came 7 to 8 Days after Lott Spoke


McClelland, John, The Masthead


Editorials denouncing Senator Trent Lott's December 5, 2002, remarks at Strom Thurmond's birthday party began appearing in Nexis-linked newspapers five days later and reached a crescendo December 12-13.

Timing of the event and news coverage of it seemed to influence the speed of editorial response, a small sampling of online archives and of editorial page editors found.

The party was on a Thursday night. It was reported routinely Friday, Saturday, and even Sunday in some newspapers whose files are in Nexis. Those stories focused on Thurmond's seniority and generally did not mention the controversial Loft remarks. It later came out that he said he was among those proud of Thurmond's 1948 segregationist Dixiecrat campaign and speculated that America might be better off if Thurmond had won that election. It took a while for that part of the story to circulate.

The first major newspaper report in Nexis to mention it apparently was in a Saturday edition of The Washington Post.

Over the weekend the outrage began to spread, and, in a manner reminiscent of Newsweek's spiking of the Monica Lewinsky story, surfaced in the nation's capital over a weekend. That Sunday, a call by the Reverend Jesse Jackson to a TV talk-show anchor got references to the tale onto national television.

Several participants in the NCEW e-mail discussion list said they learned of Lott's remarks by various media, usually on Monday. Two mentioned specifically hearing of it on National Public Radio. Some saw news reports in national media or wire copy in their own papers.

Linda Seebach of the Rocky Mountain News said she learned of it early from a weblog, Instapundit, hosted by blogger Glenn Reynolds. …

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Heaviest Fallout Came 7 to 8 Days after Lott Spoke
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