18 May 2021
JONATHAN TURLEY — There is an extraordinary column in the Washington Post from Glenn Kessler on a key figure in past coverage on the removal of Confederate statues. The Post ran a widely cited article on how Robert E. Lee’s own descendant wanted the general’s statues to be removed. The problem is that no one at the Post appears to have actually checked to see if Rev. Robert W. Lee was an actual descendant. It now appears that he is not, according to Kessler. While Kessler strangely does not believe this warrants his signature “Pinocchios,” he should be credited for doing something that no one in the media seemed inclined to do: confirm the story, even belatedly. It was, as the old journalistic saying goes, “a fact too good to check.”
Kessler is rebounding from a controversy over what many viewed as a “hit job” that he wrote on Sen. Tim Scott (R., S.C.) in which he suggested that Scott had lied about this family history. Despite an accusatory headline, Kessler actually found nothing that refuted Scott’s “from cotton to Congress” account. This family claim by Rev. Lee may have been entirely fabricated and certainly was made without clear factual basis.
Rev. Lee was lionized by the Post and other media after he denounced Gen. Lee at the MTV Video Music Awards. […]