In a discussion on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews of the Senate's recent formal apology for its repeated blocking of anti-lynching legislation, host Matthews claimed that United Nations ambassadorial nominee John R. Bolton is “getting lynched.” Senate Democrats have stalled a vote on Bolton's nomination because of the White House's refusal to turn over records of secret communications intercepts Bolton attempted to obtain from the National Security Agency.
Matthews's remark was prompted by a false suggestion by New York Post Washington bureau chief Deborah Orin that The New York Times has “notably” failed to report that in the early and mid-20th century, senators blocked anti-lynching legislation by filibuster. Democrats have employed the filibuster to block some of President Bush's judicial nominees, as well as Bolton. In fact, the Times noted that “senators blocked anti-lynching bills by filibuster” in the third sentence of its June 14 article on the Senate's apology:
Anthony Crawford's granddaughter went to her grave without speaking a word to her own children about his lynching, so painful was the family history. On Monday, Mr. Crawford's descendants came to the Capitol to tell it -- and to accept a formal apology from the Senate for its repeated failure, despite the requests of seven presidents, to enact a federal law to make lynching a crime.
The formal apology, adopted by voice vote, was issued decades after senators blocked antilynching bills by filibuster.
From the June 15 edition of Hardball with Chris Matthews:
ORIN: The other thing that's really interesting about this is, the reason that the Senate didn't act on anti-lynching legislation was the filibuster. And that's the reason that the Senate didn't act on civil rights legislation.
MATTHEWS: And your point being? Bring this up to date. I think I know where you're heading.
ORIN: Well, my point being that, in a lot of the news coverage of this, most notably in The New York Times, there was very little mention of the fact that, had it not been for the filibuster, which the liberal side of the universe is now seeing as the great sacred thing to preserve whatever, action might have been taken against lynching long before it was. And instead of having what [panelist] John [F. Harris, author of The Survivor: Bill Clinton in the White House] just described as cold comfort, we might have saved some lives.
MATTHEWS: Is Bolton getting lynched?
ORIN: Well, I mean, let's not demean the word by saying that.
MATTHEWS: No. But I mean, he is politically, isn't he?