Outrageous Revisionism: Breitbart's "Big Government" Compares ACORN to KKK

Are you sitting down for this one?

David Neiwert reports at Crooks And Liars:

As Eric Boehlert notes, Andrew Breitbart has a real credibility problem, and it extends well beyond his journalistic malfeasance in the ACORN video hoax.

His website, Big Government, is similarly developing a reputation for running blatantly dishonest commentary, often in the cause of defending the videos and their makers or likewise attacking ACORN. The latest example was pointed out by Matt Tatum at AmSpec and Dave Weigel, who both called out this atrocity from "historian" Michael Zak at Andrew Breitbart's "Big Government" blog:

Democrats used the Klan to suppress their political opposition, with vote fraud and intimidation and violence. Klansmen aimed at African-Americans, nearly all Republicans in those days, and at white Republicans who tried to help them. Once threatened by the KKK, Republicans could in many cases save their lives only by publicly swearing allegiance to the Democratic Party. According to a southern governor, "Few Republicans dare sleep in their houses at night."

"The suppression of enough GOP votes could ensure a Democratic victory," wrote one historian. "There's no question that Klansmen closely watched the polls" - easy to do before the secret ballot was introduced in the United States in the 1880s. All too often, Republican ballots were not even counted.

Like ACORN, the Ku Klux Klan operated with impunity until Republican politicians and journalists sounded an alarm. In 1869, Nathan Bedford Forrest, the KKK's Grand Dragon, ordered the Klan disbanded. Why? The national organization was getting too much attention, so Klansmen would have to soldier on in state-level organizations, such as the Red Shirts in South Carolina and the Men of Justice in Alabama. Nonetheless, most members of these spin-off groups considered themselves to be Klansmen.

Good God. It's hard to know where to begin. Let's try with Weigel's observation:

The fact that the KKK suppressed and terrorized black voters while ACORN, well, doesn’t — sort of left out here.

More to the point, the entire raison d'etre of the Klan was to disenfranchise black voters, to terrorize them into submission and to ensure that they could not participate as full citizens. According to historians, they killed an estimated 20,000 people in the years 1866-1870 alone (see Philip Dray, At the Hands of Persons Unknown: The Lynching of Black America, p. 49). Indeed, the Klansmen of the postwar period essentially negated the war's outcome by destroying Reconstruction through a campaign of terrorist violence that encompassed massacres, white citizen militias destroying black townships, and the complete destruction of the voting franchise for black people, thereby ensuring white rule for the next century and beyond. (For more on this, be sure to read Stephen Budiansky's riveting account, The Bloody Shirt: Terror After the Civil War, which was excerpted in the New York Times.) ...>more