Thursday, August 26, 2010

Jeffrey Lord Doubles Down on the Stupid

Jeffrey Lord has come out with a defense of his indefensible article attacking Shirley Sherrod in the American Spectator for referring to the death of her relative Bobby Hall as a lynching. Get a load of this crap in its entirety if you have a strong stomach.

For those who don't have the constitution for open race baiting or want to jump into the crazy world of Jeffrey Lord one in which a person being beaten to death by 3 crazed southern sheriffs isn’t a lynching because they lacked rope here is a great deconstruction of his arguments by Radley Balko over at Who Jeff Lord actually has the nerve to call Balko Boo Radley lol!

Or If I may I’ll just quote how our own Jed Lewison summarized the smear.

Shirley Sherrod lied when she described Bobby Hall's death as a lynching because the Supreme Court never said it was a lynching (even though everybody agrees a Sheriff beat Hall to death and dragged him through the county courthouse while on his deathbed).

Progressives who sounded an awful lot like Shirley Sherrod are responsible for creating the conditions that led to Bobby Hall's murder because the only way you can advocate for working people is to engage in race-baiting.

Link to Jed's article

Jed wasn’t the only one to see the errors in Mr. Lord’s reasoning, two contributors in his own publication called him to task.

Jim Tabin writes

What on Earth is Jeffrey Lord talking about on the mainpage? He says that the sentence "Claude Screws lynched a black man" is untrue. Lynching is defined as an extrajudicial killing by a mob (which can be as few as two people). The fatal beating of Bobby Hall most certainly qualifies.

Link to his post

Phillip Klein chimes in as well.

A regular part of writing for a political magazine or website is that you sometimes disagree with what is written, or even with decisions to publish certain articles. Such is my sentiment today with Jeff Lord's piece on Shirley Sherrod. I am rendered speechless by a 4,000-word article that is based around the suggestion that somebody is a liar for saying that a black man was lynched, when he was merely beaten to death by a white sheriff who evidence suggests had previously threatened to "get him."

Link to his post

So what how does Mr. Lord respond to this hail of criticism? Does he reasses his position? Does he think again about what he said? No, if you believe that I have some very attractive swamp land for sale. Unfortunately what he does in defense of his ignorance is what Republicans have done since the dawn of the southern strategy double down.

Random House Webster's College Dictionary defines lynching as: "to put to death, esp. hanging by mob action and without legal authority."
I have read the Court's decision. Three people are not a "mob." A mob is defined as a "large crowd." So there was no "mob action" because there was no mob. Second, the Supreme Court specifically said the Sheriff and his deputy and a local policeman acted "under color of law." Which means they had legal authority.

So to say that Bobby Hall was lynched is, factually, according to the Supreme Court and, if you prefer, Webster's, not true. No mob. Therefore no "mob action." And the three had "legal authority." So my new friend Radley "Boo" Balko over at Reason pounced...and got it wrong instantly.

Link to what Mr. Lord calls his defense

The actual definition of a lynching does not require a mob, as he would like to define it. It actually consists of three people as the federal anti lynching statute and anyone who and anyone who would take the time to actually research the subject can attest.

Mr. Lord also apparently doesn’t have the slightest idea that acting under the color of law does not give you legal authority to beat a man to death. I have to wonder did he give that contention one moment of thought. In this persons world any police officer who has on a uniform basically has a 007 license to kill.

His second defense of his hatchet job on the truth and history is even more hilarious.

Second. The larger point. My colleagues seem not to understand the connection between what they are seeing in the headlines everyday -- and history. There is, I'm sorry to say, a direct connection between Southern racists of yore and, say, the Obama Administration policy in Arizona.. The Black Panther case. And what Ms. Sherrod was doing in her speech when she ever so casually linked criticism of health care to racism, which is to say not supporting a (her words) "black President."

Link to what Mr. Lord calls his defense

Yes Mr. Lord the connection is people like yourself. People who so hate the Obama administration that they would rekindle the ugly emotions that fueled the southern racist of yore, but with the damndest twist. Republicans can apparently demand their non white citizens prove themselves, take 3 idiots and a website and make them the terror of the nation, and completely ignore the actual history of race relations in this country.

On the positive side while cruising the comments of this most interesting exercise in sophistry I found that it is not playing well amongst the commenters of the American Spectator.

Just off the top I found these examples.

From Marcus

I usually don't agree with liberal bloggers, because, well they're liberal. However, how stupid are you? They're correct to point out the Hall's murder was, by definition, a lynching. Mob violence is what lynching is. I can't believe you're actually trying to defend that moronic piece you wrote a few days ago. I suspect you've come to the realization of how stupid you came off and how ridiculous you premise is/was. Mr. Lord, just stop, give up, admit you're wrong, because hardly anyone is going to agree with you. Moron.

The Bulge

You're embarrassing yourself. Just admit it was a stupid thing to write, and move on. Or, you know, just keep digging like you're doing. It's hard to believe you could be this dumb.


Mr. Lords rebuttal is as weak as his initial argument. He gives three arguments based on the definition he supplies and each of his arguments are pathetically weak. The definition that he supplies of lynching says esp. by hanging. Especially implies other means and does not preclude beatings. By Mr. Lords definition Emitt Till was not lynched. Next Mr. Lords says that there was not enough people to constitute a mob, conveniently ignoring Mr. Balko citation of the Dwyer anti lynching bill that defined a mob as three or more people. His last argument is that Sheriff Straw and his two accomplices acted under color of law so therefore had legal authority. Just because they had legal authority to arrest and subdue Mr. Hall did not give them legal authority to kick and beat him with an 8 inch 2 lbs black jack for 15 minutes resulting in his death.

Mr Lord's comparing himself to Atticus Finch is as misguided as his rebuttal is weak. Atticus Finch defended a black suspect from the lynch mob. He did not minimize the mobs action nor did he attack the victim's relatives.

The whole premise or the initial article was wrongheaded. Why imply Ms Sherrod is a liar because she did not use an extremely narrow debatable definition of lynching. The point is Mr. Hall was a victim of Jim Crow racism not whether he was hung in front of the courthouse or beaten to death in front of it.

It gets far better than this in the original post. I believe if this little interlude in the mind of a Republican is any illustration of how they feel as a group we have tremendous issues to overcome. When a respected Republican thinker can equate the murder of a Black man to something done under the color of authority and not a lynching Shirley Sherrod was right when she was discussing the attitude of Andrew Breitbart. They do want to take us back to the time when a Black man couldn’t look a white one in the face

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