The Corner

Unfair to Wa-PO?

A reader corrects me:

“Mr. Derbyshire—I read your column today and was inspired by the segment about the [Washington] Post calling evangelical Christians ‘poor, uneducated and easily led.’ As an editor at the Post, but one who wasn’t here at the time, I’ve heard it before and always assumed that back in ‘93 we had let our MSM liberal slip show a wee bit and didn’t give it much more thought.

“Today however, faced with a little time on my hands and with a brand new text retrieval system that actually works (something we’ve never been blessed with before), I decided to look it up. Based on what I found, I think that we may have been unfairly maligned here. The only reference I could find from ‘93 to the phrase was in a long piece on the Virginia gubernatorial race and quoted an evangelical minister as saying that it was his impression that Democrats thought that way. Here’s the paragraph in question:

“‘Etcher was eager to hear politicians’ ideas for solving such problems and agreed to host a candidates’ forum. Democrats boycotted the event, saying the sponsoring organization leaned too far to the right. Etcher was angry and insulted by this prejudice, which he says comes through in Democratic television ads, that “every born-again Christian is poor, uneducated and easily led.”’

“Heaven knows, we in the news business have been guilty of taking quotes out of context too many times to claim any room to gripe when we’re on the receiving end, but I thought I’d point out that in this case at least, our liberal nether garments seem to have been demurely in place with nary a hem showing.”

[Derb] Always glad to explode an urban legend, Sir.

John Derbyshire — Mr. Derbyshire is a former contributing editor of National Review.

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