MS voters ignored media's 'racist' label

Wednesday, November 28, 2018
Billy Davis (

Hyde-Smith / Espy (MS)Republicans in the U.S. Senate will begin 2019 with a 53-seat majority after Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith won a special election Tuesday after claims of racism dogged her in the closing days.

"Republican wins racially charged U.S. Senate race in Mississippi," begins the headline of a Reuters wire service story that suggests her win over a black opponent reminded the public of the state's "history of racist violence."

After being appointed to the seat by Mississippi's governor, Hyde-Smith won the special election 53-46 percent over Democratic candidate Mike Espy, a former Mississippi congressman who served as agriculture secretary under Bill Clinton. 

Espy stepped down from that job after being indicted, but later acquitted, on multiple counts of bribery and kickback, but the same national media that failed to dig into that federal case --- which actually made Espy appear to be a victim --- reported on Hyde-Smith's past going back to high school.  

WLBT noosesHer win on Tuesday makes Hyde-Smith the first woman to represent Mississippi in the U.S. Senate but Democrats and the media allies were sticking with accusations of racism even as voters went to the polls.

In a heavily-watched Senate race with a black opponent, Hyde-Smith didn't do herself any favors when she complimented a supporter with the awkward phrase that she would sit "on the front row" if he invited her to a "public hanging."

"She made a statement, which I know she feels badly about it, and it was just sort of said in jest," President Donald Trump said, when asked about the comment by reporters. "She is a tremendous woman and it is a shame that she has to go through this."

The sitting senator's offhand comment, recorded on video, set off a media firestorm that predictably picked up steam as Democrats hoped for a surprise victory in the reliably red state of Mississippi.   

The highly-trafficked Drudge Report linked to an Election Day story reporting nooses and "hate signs" were left around the State Capitol, suggesting a last-minute hate crime on the eve of Election Day. But it turned out --- despite breathless media reports --- that the incident was a protest against Hyde-Smith, not a racist incident, as evidenced by the messages on the handmade signs that went mostly ignored in the media stories. 

NBC News Hyde-Smith story"Cindy Hyde-Smith is a racist, a white nationalist, and a white supremacist," an MSNBC guest said of the incumbent senator, who had served as state senator and was twice elected Mississippi's agricultural commissioner.

Yet the "white nationalist" Republican senator has been accused of voting for Hillary Clinton in 2008, and she served in public office as a Democrat for much of her public career until switching parties in 2010.

Meeke Addison, a radio talk show host for the conservative, Mississippi-based Urban Family Network, tells OneNewsNow that Hyde-Smith made an "ill-advised" comment then failed to "indisputably clarify herself" later when given the chance.

Racism is a "tired" accusation against the South but the senator created an opportunity for Mississippi to be "ill spoken of" once again, she adds. 

"In the end," Addison says, "Mississippians voted for the President's agenda and future judges." 


After the "public hanging" comment came a 2014 photo of Hyde-Smith wearing Confederate regalia while touring the home of Jefferson Davis, which kicked off a media-driven discussion of the Civil War.

"Embattled Hyde-Smith posted photo of herself in Confederate hat," Politico reported six days before Election Day.  

The weekend before election Election Day, a liberal newspaper published a story and photos describing how Hyde-Smith, now 59, attended a segregated private school in the 1970s. That original story, looking back 40 years earlier, merited a 1,300-word NBC News online story about segregation.

In an Election Day interview on American Family Radio, Gov. Phil Bryant told the "Today's Issues" radio show that he chose to appoint Hyde-Smith over other choices because she represents a "real person" in the U.S. Senate who runs a business and goes to church.


Bryant served as lieutenant governor when Hyde-Smith, then a state senator, led the Senate Agricultural Committee.

"This is a good Christian woman," he said. "I know that she has a remarkable ability to work with other people, to be able to get along. I saw [her] on that floor, both as a Democrat and a Republican, interact with African Americans and white voters, and never had a problem."

Because of the special election, Hyde-Smith must face Mississippi voters again in 2020 if she decides to seek a full term.

Editor's Note: American Family Radio and Urban Family Talk are divisions of the American Family Association, the parent organization of the American Family News Network, which operates 

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