Accuracy in Media

Hey South Texans, the three feet of rain from Hurricane Harvey may not be your biggest problem this week. According to the Washington Post, it may be white supremacists.

“When crises of state and storm collide in an already anxious nation, the thirst for stability has led too many to the well of white supremacy,” wrote Andy Horowitz, a professor history at Tulane University in New Orleans in a piece for the Post.

The location of this storm exacerbates the threat, Horowitz wrote. In 1900, Galveston, which is within a few miles of the landfall point for Hurricane Harvey, was nearly destroyed by a hurricane. A 15-foot wall of water inundated the city, killing more than 6,000 people and perhaps 10,000. In the aftermath, the tales grew even taller.

There was looting of dead bodies, pestilence from so many decaying bodies unburied, a second Johnstown flood, only worse, wrote John Coulter in “The Complete Story of the Galveston Horror.” “There was no escape. Only Death! Death! Everywhere!”

Horowitz goes on to quote quite a bit of the Coulter book before saying, “Did that really happen? Probably not.”

Nor, he admitted, did the other stories he recounted of widespread looting, such as how the “pockets of some looters were fairly bulging out with fingers of the dead, which had been cut off because they were so swollen the rings could not be removed” or the ears cut off to mine the earrings within.

It was all to stir up fears among white people in Galveston so they would attack black people, Horowitz said. And it was unique because usually, according to research he did not cite, widespread looting “(as opposed to what amounts to foraging for necessities) is rare.”

An odd comment from a man who works in New Orleans, which was looted down to its last flat screen TV after Hurricane Katrina.

So no one was truly looting or truly cutting off fingers and ears, but, according to Horowitz, tales of militias being formed to randomly kill black people were more believable. White men were herded into an ad hoc militia, he wrote, to get the town under martial law as quickly as possible. “If anyone resists your authority,” the commander reportedly wrote, “Shoot.”

“Did that really happen?” he asked. “Probably. Murder often masqueraded as justice in Jim Crow America.”

There is no justification for killing anyone on account of race, but somehow, Horowitz can find absolutely credible stories from an area that had no power, no warning of the storm, no written records and no accurate accounts – and the only supposedly original reporting of which he deems to be probably untrue.

He takes on the commission form of government that emerged from the disaster. In a commission form, all members of a city council run citywide. Rather than represent districts within the city, they represent competencies – a commissioner of public safety would be in charge of fire and police, a commissioner of finance in charge of the city’s taxes and accounting, etc.

Woodrow Wilson said of the Galveston plan that “no single movement of reform in our governmental methods has been more significant.” Which is not surprising since he consistently supported a government of experts and bureaucrats similar to what plagues Washington today.

And Horowitz is right that this did dilute black voting strength – indeed, the commission form of city government died out across America under a combination of court orders and incidents that proved its ineffectiveness.

But could this all come roaring back with the storm clouds of Harvey? Horowitz, incredibly, thinks so.

“How distant is that past?” Horowitz wrote. “White men in fatigues, bearing guns, are taking to the streets today, using violent intimidation to defend the legacy of the Confederacy. A federal court is considering whether Texas violated minority voting rights when it redrew its congressional districts in 2011. Earlier this week, Texas’ voter ID law, supported by the Trump administration, was struck down by as federal court. The judge compared the law to a poll tax on minorities.”

His conclusion is absurd. Chaos in a storm in 1900 is different from chaos in a storm in 2017 in dozens of ways. For one, the storm is anticipated and planned for. For another, rather than a blackout of reliable news coverage, it will be covered to the hilt. Anyone who loots or shoots looters will do so with cameras rolling.

And if white men in fatigues come into what will be a flooded, snake-ridden, dangerous area to defend the legacy of the Confederacy, then black-clad men in masks – the fascist Antifa group – will show up to fight them. Which many would argue would be the perfect time for another 15-foot wall of water.

Texans have a lot to worry about with this storm. The rainfall predictions are frightening and, in many cases, unprecedented. The storm is expected to stall out, meaning the cleanup and the waters receding may not even begin for a week or more.

That’s a lot on their plates. Raising what Horowitz called “the extralegal spectacle of lynching masked as the law itself, the violent fantasies at the heart of white supremacy and the ongoing human tragedy of racial terror” seems like yet another attempt by the Washington Post to tie anything bad – natural storms, disasters, even things that have not yet even occurred – to President Trump.

There is a lot more danger in the hysteria being whipped up by the Post than racism whipped up by this storm, and if the Post had any shame left, it would recognize this. Alas, it doesn’t.

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  • I am 70yrs old and have never met or seen a white supremacist.

    I have seen Antifa and BLM terrorists, however.

  • samo war
  • Wrong Washington Post it might bring alt left criminals that will thrash and steal from the locals.

  • Washington Post – FAKE NEWS, trying to rally the alt left how rotten you stupid ass so called Main Street Media who are trying to wreck this country.

  • AndRebecca

    These Leftists are truly sick. And, they are in the schools teaching the kids to be sickos as well.

  • Devastated Hurricane Harvey victims need *YOUR* help to protect their children and animals in the aftermath. People of all kinds will be coming from all over to allegedly help. Some will actually be there to help. Others of all backgrounds possible will be looking for things like live, vulnerable, stranded, wholly unprotected animal BAIT for activities such as their dog fighting and cock fighting back home.

  • mark

    WaPo…. for some time, a nasty strain of the old laughing onion fake news site.

  • 1madgrannie

    Any conservatives still shopping at Amazon, need to stop immediately. The CEO of Amazon owns WAPO and hates conservatives and the president we elected. They run fake news against President Trump on a daily basis. Find another internet shopping venue as long as Bezos is CEO of Amazon.

  • gene456

    You cannot make this stuff up.

  • sox83cubs84

    HuffPO and WaPO…fake news for the retarded.

  • FlCracker2

    WAPO is completely unglued.


    When I was a kid I saw KKK guys marching and cross burning. That was bad. Since then I can’t say I have ever seen any white supremacists. I’ve seen some jaw droppingly stupid racists in Selma, AL, with the exception of one, they were all black. I’ve even seem some very rude, crude racist Cuban and Mexican illegals. Not a single white supremacist though.


    Why would white supremacists want to over run southern Texas during a flood? Is that just going to be the new liberal bogey man story now, behave or the white supremacists will come and quietly protest till the black clad Antifa guys show up and start beating the hell out of everyone?

  • mioahu

    OMG, seriously ? WaPo, what a bunch of idiots .. But then, the leftists also said that ISIS was created by climate change, so i am not surprised, just curious as how more stupid and ridiculous they can become

  • Rich Schmidt

    This is not the first time that WaPo rag has trotted out the fear story of marauding racist killers assassinating helpless citizens at will under cover of chaos.
    However the killers must have done an excellent job of interring their victims, as the ground was never found to be a blood splashed litter of bullet riddled bodies. Well never mind, it made good copy ( by WaPo standards). And what the hay, readers appetite for this titillating BS is considerable, while their memory is pretty weak in following up on the WaPo’s “projections of what might happen”.
    Critical thinkers prefer their news be about what actually happened not some news commentators fantasy.

  • samo war

    harveyy is next new game on cia playstation ?

  • “And if white men in fatigues come into what will be a flooded, snake-ridden, dangerous area to defend the legacy of the Confederacy, then black-clad men in masks – the fascist Antifa group – will show up to fight them.”

    One of these things is not like the other. What does it mean to defend the legacy of the Confederacy? Apparently it means to hold a public protest that is quite legal. When Antifa or anyone else shows up to commit violence against them, they are in the wrong and not incidentally, breaking the law. No equivalence here, hoss. Pretty sad that even AIM has their thumb on the scale for the benefit of those who show up at these events with their own excrement packed in bottles to throw at their perceived enemies.

  • Yep, for lavish salaries and perks working nine months of the year with every holiday you ever heard of.

  • votedemout

    In lending any aid to the hurricane recovery you haven’t.