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Monday, September 5, 2011
MRC: Jefferson Must Be 'Exonerat[ed]' Of Sexual Relations With Black Woman
Topic: Media Research Center

Right-wingers apparently find the idea that Thomas Jefferson may have had sex with a woman of a different race that it must be fought whenever possible. We've previously detailed how Accuracy in Media called it a "smear."

Now, the Media Research Center aims to fight history, declaring that Jefferson's alleged sexual relations with black slave Sally Hemings is something he must be "exonerat[ed]" from. Matt Philbin writes ina Sept. 1 MRC Culture & Media Institute article:

Fact: The man who wrote so eloquently about basic human liberty in the Declaration of Independence was himself a slave owner. Unproven theory: That man had a sexual relationship with one of those slaves and fathered at least one of her children.

If you're a liberal journalist, the fact makes you inclined to believe the theory, and ideology and political necessity take you the rest of the way. At least, that has been the case in reporting on the Jefferson-Hemings historical controversy over the last decade and more.

It will be interesting to see if a new book that goes a long way toward exonerating Thomas Jefferson receives the same kind of breathless coverage as evidence the media cited to condemn him. Or if CBS produces a miniseries to correct the one it made exploiting that evidence.

Speaking of unproven claims, Philbin goes on to assert that when DNA testing proved a Jefferson-Hemings  hookup of some kind, "Liberal journalists, then desperate for ways to defend President Bill Clinton during his own sordid sex scandal, pounced on the news that a descendent of Hemings shared some of our third president's DNA." Philbin offers only a couple anecdotal quotes, which falls far short of the vast left-wing conspiracy Philbin claims.

Philbin later goes on to reference "assumptions of Jefferson's guilt" in alleged sexual relations with Hemings, as if it was a crime akin to robbery or murder -- or a crime, period, 40 years after anti-miscegenation laws were overturned by the Supreme Court. Who knew that the MRC was still so squeamish about race-mixing?

Posted by Terry K. at 12:36 PM EDT

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