Another Stumbling Block for Allen? My Doubts on the Salon Story

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Sep 25, 2006 2:08 AM

I'll have more tomorrow, but here are my initial thoughts on the story that Salon has three sources confirming that George Allen repeatedly used the N-word in college.

In fact, I'll just cut-and-paste from an IM conversation with Allah, because I'm too tired to rewrite:

<IM> When I was at the newspaper and in j-school, we used to have all these ethical discussions about reporting that someone was "suspected" but not charged with child molestation or sexual assault or something. It was generally agreed that you should wait for formal charges in those cases, and then remain very cautious, because the accusation alone can ruin lives.

The taint is there, no matter what. I feel like the charge of "racism" carries some of the same concerns in today's society. Even if you're innocent of it, it's hard to get the stink of the accusation off you, so I'm a little uncomfortable with guys from 30 years ago being able to call Allen a racist without putting their names to the accusations. It's all too easy to smear a white man from the South that way...

I don't think the Salon guys should have written it without the other guys on the record. And, they should have named the teammates who spoke out in support of him...

...At the very least, I would have quoted the support for him more extensively. And, given their names, so that people could discern their motives as well. For instance, if one or two of those dudes is a partisan Dem, that says something about the praise for him, makes it more credible...

Plus, Salon would have had a story with just the one guy on the record. Let's face it, people would pick it up and run with it, but then Shelton would have had to answer all the questions about it, which he is clearly prepared to do, having put his name on the accusations. I don't think it's fair that the accusations get added credibility from the two anonymous sources while those sources needn't face outside criticism...

And I gotta wonder too. If he's such a raving, gall-durned racist, why didn't all of this come out before and prevent him from being Governor and then Senator. How come it keeps popping up every election cycle, more people coming forward with "oh yeah, I remember him being a racist" stories. I don't know, seems the Dem opp research would/should have had all this a long time ago. </end IM>

So, that's my brief take. Of course, Allen has made some missteps, most recently Macacagate, which regrettably make accusations like this more likely to stick. For the record, I think Macacagate is a bunch of hooey, as far as the race question goes, but Allen could have prevented it by just calling the kid a tracker or a Webb aide.

Dan Riehl offers a possible ulterior motive for the one guy Salon has on the record.

More tomorrow (certainly from the Allen campaign). Tonight, to bed.

Update: SeeDub makes a good point that I missed earlier:

Note that even though Allen is already a Senator, his accuser Robert Shelton didn't come forward with this story until this year, the year that Billy Lanahan, the third witness to "the deer head incident" died. Now it's just Shelton's word versus Allen's.