Trent Lott supported white supremacist group; senator's spokesman misled journalists

From Fairness & Accuracy in Media (FAIR)
Dec. 16, 1998


Emerging evidence shows Trent Lott addressed a white supremacist group at least twice in the 1990's and is on record praising the group, contradicting statements the senator's spokesperson made to reporters this past weekend.

When charges surfaced that Senator Trent Lott supported a racist organization, the Senate leader's spokesperson misled the media and the  country, telling reporters Lott's only link to the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC) amounted to a single speech to the group ten years ago.

After interviewing Lott's representative, the Los Angeles Times reported on Dec. 13:

  "According to John S. Cwartacki, Lott's spokesman, the senator only vaguely remembers that, while serving in the House of Representatives, he was invited to an event in his Gulf Coast district by two acquaintances who, it turned out, had ties to the group. 'That was over  a decade ago,' Cwartacki said. 'His recollection isn't that straightforward.'"

Lott's office told a similar version of the story to several media outlets reporting on it Saturday and Sunday. But the following facts contradict the story circulated by the Majority Leader's office:

*Trent Lott addressed the CCC's national conference in Greenwood, Mississippi on April 11, 1992-as a Senator, not while a member of the House and not ten years ago, as his spokesperson claimed, according  to the CCC's newsletter, Citizens Informer, which published pictures and a  report on the event in its Spring 1992 edition.

*After urging those at the gathering to increase their recruiting efforts for the "conservative" cause, Lott concluded his address praising CCC members: "The people in this room stand for the right principles and the right philosophy. Let's take it in the right direction and our children  will be the beneficiaries!"

*Senator Lott also addressed an event sponsored by the Carrol County (MS) chapter of the CCC and the Black Hawk Bus Association on July 22, 1995, according to a story (with photos) in the Summer 1995 edition of Citizens Informer.

*Lott's column is regularly featured in Citizens Informer

Trent Lott is one of the country's most powerful elected figures. He is also one of the leading political figures promoting the Neo-Confederate  cause-a movement rife with racism and other forms of bigotry and which claims membership in the tens of thousands. In the past Lott led the  fight for tax breaks for Bob Jones University and other whites-only schools and he was the leading advocate for the successful drive to reinstate the citizenship of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

Journalists owe it to the public to report on the political associations of elected officials, especially those as powerful as the Senate  Majority Leader.

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