Saturday, February 24, 2007

First Polygamy Punch

You knew it was only a matter of time. The AP has a story today today on Mitt Romney's Mormon roots, noting that his great-grandfather married a plural wife several years after the Church banned the practice.

Romney's great-grandfather, Miles Park Romney, married his fifth wife in 1897. That was more than six years after Mormon leaders banned polygamy and more than three decades after a federal law barred the practice.

Romney's great-grandmother, Hannah Hood Hill, was the daughter of polygamists. She wrote vividly in her autobiography about how she "used to walk the floor and shed tears of sorrow" over her own husband's multiple marriages.

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Blogger Kyle said...

This makes me absolutely sick. I want to know what the heck this has to do with anything about Mitt Romney himself. If we wanted to we could find dirt on ancestors of every single person in the world, including the idiot writer who wrote the story. None of that matters when judging the person himself. This is the same sort of "guilt by association" crap that liberals pull all the time. I will not hold my breath for the subsequent articles pulling up dirt on the great-great-great-grandfathers and -grandmothers of all the rest of the candidates.

I can't say put it strongly worded enough how absolutely bigoted this kind of journalism is. The AP has just shown how deeply troubled it is.

3:16 PM  
Blogger Allan said...

Well put Kyle. All I can say is that much more is yet to come.

7:46 PM  
Blogger Marc said...

I too think this sort of focus on Romney's faith and ancestors is misplaced, but I don't think writing this all off on the "liberals" is accurate or productive.

One, I think this has less to do with "liberals" than it has to do with a sensationalized story. Americans love them on both the right and the left. Look at the myopic focus on Anna Nicole Smith, the troubled Astronaut, Britney Spears, and the Clinton-Obama tiff. The media loves any sort of attention grabber, and I see this as just that sort of thing. It's sad, but it's the society we live in.

Given the number of hit jobs the AP took on Harry Reid last year, I'm not sure it's fair to characterize the AP as some bigoted organization. Moreover, so far in this campaign, some of the most vitriolic attacks on Romney have come from Conservatives. I suspect we'll see a lot of mud thrown by conservatives come primary time (just look back to the illegitimate black child rumors that sank McCain in South Carolina).

9:23 PM  
Anonymous Sara said...

I'm sure other candidates have slave-owner ancestors; how about Obama's radiacal Muslim father? Come on, people, let's grow up and focus on the issues here.

1:01 AM  
Blogger Marc said...

I'm commenting once again to echo that these issues should not be part of the campaign. I also think it important to correct a blatantly untrue and sensationalistic rumor about Obama that was implied by Sara's comment. Obama's father was not radical Muslim. He got a doctorate in the US and went on to serve in the Kenyan government. Obama's father, though at one time a Muslim, was agnostic by the time he married the younger Obama's mother.

3:04 PM  
Blogger Kyle said...

Two points:

First, I think that the AP IS a very troubled organization. Pointing out hit pieces on other people does not somehow absolve it from some sort of bigotry or bias. Indeed it furthers the case that the AP is either amoral or indiscriminate. It does not make them fair or balanced or anything else we would associate with a professional publication. As I said, the AP is deeply troubled.

Second, I agree that the sensationalism has something to do with the story, but the cases that you cite are all examples of personal behavior, not the actions of ancestors. Does the media and the public get excited by strange behavior? Yes. But it can hardly claim sensationalism for acts of people more than 100 years ago. And trying to peg it to a present person who had nothing to do with those things is nothing short of bigoted. The stench of bias, from right or left, is enough to knock out an elephant.

Hopefully this AP story will play as well as Tim Hardaway's comments about gay people.

11:39 AM  
Blogger Marc said...

1) While I certainly think the media is often arbitrary and sensationalistic, I think you've haven't said anything to make a case that the AP is "deeply troubled." Moreover, there is absolutely nothing to support your earlier implication that this was the product of "liberals." Your arguments would be stronger if you toned down your rhetoric.

2) I don't buy your personal behavior angle. A sensationalistic story is a sensationalistic story, whether about ancestors or personal behavior (see the current story on Strom Thurmond's ancestors owning Al Sharpton's slave ancestors).

2:16 AM  

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