In a rather soft boiled story on West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd's dotage and his uselessness as an able bodied member of the Senate, at 89 he's currently the longest serving Senator in American history, the AP did the right thing in reminding the readers that Byrd was once a member of the Klan. Yet, they had to go and ruin the truth by claiming that Klan members are "certainly conservative."
In fact, this AP story amazingly tries to make it seem as if Byrd had only late in life become that member of Congress that has been "endeared" to "many liberals", hinting that it only just dawned on him after 53 years in the Senate to become a liberal. The AP imagines that Byrd somehow "remade" himself into a liberal over the Bush administration's Iraq policy, as if he never was one before that.
Colleagues said Byrd agreed to have Murray lead the floor fight, even though the Iraq issue is close to his heart. Since the war's outset, he has ranked among Bush's harshest critics, a role that endeared him to many liberals and proved again that a skillful politician can remake his image if he stays in office long enough...What is with this "remake his image" stuff, AP? Do you imagine that Byrd has been Barry Goldwater until we set our first boots on the ground in Iraq?
But, here is the worst part. As mentioned, the AP imagines that only conservatives could ever be a Klan member.
...His political origins were certainly conservative, including a stint in the Ku Klux Klan — membership for which Byrd has repeatedly apologized. His 14-hour filibuster of civil rights legislation in 1964 was among the longest in Senate history.I see. Once again we have the myth that only conservatives (a word that is used to denote Republican today) were against civil rights.
Does it occur to the AP that the bulk of those politicians against civil rights in the beginning of that era were Democrats? Does it occur to them that the civil rights bills that later passed assuring blacks their equal rights could not have passed were it not for the strong support of the Republican Party? Does the AP not know that the Dixiecrats who led the fight against civil rights for blacks were NOT Republicans, nor conservatives, but merely racist in imputes? There were no "conservative" principles at stake as far as the Dixiecrats were concerned in that time period.
Apparently expecting the AP to represent truthful American history is expecting far too much.