Cultural Revolutions

Bucking the Tide of Progress

Sen. Jesse Helms' announcement in August of his retirement at the end of his current term was an opportunity for vituperation on the part of the left-wing media that has so detested the North Carolina conservative throughout his entire 30-year political career. "It is alway's tempting," moaned the New York Times lead editorial the day after Mr. Helms' announcement, "when old warriors retire, to lament their passing from the political stage. In the ease of Senator Jesse Helms, that is a temptation to be resisted." There's never much danger that any spark of gallantry might flash through the darkness at the Times.

The editorial was followed a few days later by yet another shot at Helms in the paper's "Week in Review" section—this time by Rick Perlstein, author of a recent study of Harry Goldwater's presidential campaign, attended by a selection of what the Times considered choice quotations from the senator going hack to his quite unreconstructed comments on Negroes in 1956. Nor was the Washington Post to he outdone by its grim sister in Manhattan. It took the Post a week or so, but eventually, columnist and chief political reporter David Broder unbosomed an op-ed entitled "Jesse Helms, White Racist."

Of course, this kind of press coverage of Helms is not unusual, and one may guess that the senator, a former...

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