Posts Tagged ‘Preston Brooks’

Clayton: History Buff or Bluff?

November 21, 2009

As loyal Fox & Friends Weekend fans know, co-anchor Clayton Morris fashions himself a history buff. However, today he appeared to be more the dilettante of the American narrative in an F&FW interview of Governor Mike Huckabee. During that segment (on Obama’s hinting that he might not run again in 2012), Clayton asked about one-term President Gerald Ford.

Clayton commented, “Let’s talk about Gerald Ford for a second from a history perspective because I’m fascinated by that moment.” (Perhaps, he should not have.) Confounded,  Clayton disjointedly declared, “He ran but he knew by pardoning Nixon, by taking some of those bullets. And, of course, famously even featured in Profiles in Courage, you know, the Kennedy book later for having courage to stand up and take sort of a bullet for the country as a result of the Nixon impeachment proceedings. Is that what President Obama is saying here?”*

In the past, Clayton has confused  the nineteenth century caning of a would-be assassin by our seventh President “Old Hickory,” Andrew Jackson, with the beating of Senator Charles Sumner by Rep. Preston Brooks more than two decades later. Such an error about the arcane Congressional record is one thing. However, not remembering President Gerald Ford’s 1974 pardon of the disgraced Richard M. Nixon occurred almost twenty years after President John F. Kennedy penned his 1955 Profiles in Courage is another altogether. [N.B. Gerald Ford did receive the 2001 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage award (named after JFK's book) for his pardon of Nixon.]

The dangers of being a self-dubbed “buff”! In the future, Clayton may well want to consult the country’s chronicles before opining on its past beyond the current news cycle. The author does not doubt that he will learn from another of his avocations and get better with age.

*Fox & Friends (11/21/09) – @8:49 a.m. ET

Conflatin’ Clayton

February 27, 2009

A smiling professorial Newt Gingrich let Fox & Friends’ confused co-host and history buff Clayton Morris slide on his facts today. In a segment on the informality of President Obama’s address to Congress, Clayton began accurately indicating that proper decorum is not always observed on the Senate floor but he then speciously used the example of “Andrew Jackson on the floor of the Senate hitting somebody with a cane back in the 1800’s.” As the former Speaker of the House undoubtedly knew, Clayton had conflated two distinct historical canings, one by President Andrew Jackson in the halls of Congress in 1835 and the other by Representative Preston Brooks of South Carolina on the Senate floor in 1856.

As to President Andrew Jackson, Old Hickory did his caning in the halls of Congress on January 30, 1835 after he was rudely interrupted as he paid his respects in the Capitol to the fallen Congressman Warren Davis of South Carolina. After Jackson had filed past Davis’ casket and was heading for the Rotunda, a deranged assassin, Richard Lawrence, fired two guns at him: both misfired. Old Hickory did not take kindly to Lawrence’s treachery and proceeded to whack Lawrence about the head until he posed no further danger.* [Cf. link, infra, for a print portrayal of the assassination attempt.]**

Today Clayton must have been thinking of the only Senate floor caning of record. In that incidence, the South Carolina Congressman Preston Brooks took offense for some Senate floor comments by  Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner that Brooks interpreted to question the mental faculties of his stroke-stricken relative, Senator Butler, also of South Carolina. Deeming Sumner “no gentleman,” Butler did not deign to give Sumner the dignity of a duel: rather, he entered the Senate chamber, went forthright to Sumner’s desk, and broke his cane over the then much bloodied head of Sumner.***

Clayton made the very same error repeatedly on the December 13, 2008 edition of Fox & Friends Weekend (December 13, 2008): His F&F Weekend producers and co-hosts, Alisyn Camerota and Dave Briggs failed to correct him. (Cf. “Cane Careless Clayton, infra.)**** Once again Carpe Diem did not.

*http://www.biographybase.com/biography/Jackson_Andrew.html

**http://teachpol.tcnj.edu/amer_pol_hist/thumbnail141.html

***http://us-civil-war.suite101.com/article.cfm/brooks_canes_sumner

****http://jakeho.wordpress.com/2008/12/13/cane-clayton/

Other links:

http://knowledgerush.com/kr/encyclopedia/Andrew_Jackson/First_Inaugural_Address/

http://teachpol.tcnj.edu/amer_pol_hist/thumbnail141.html

Cane Careless Clayton

December 13, 2008

Fox & Friends co-host Clayton Morris, a self-professed history buff, displayed a wanton disregard for historical facts. As to Andrew Jackson, in each of the “Bad Hair Club for Men” segments, he accused “Old Hickory” of caning someone in the Senate. However, the only caning incident in the Senate was that of Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner by South Carolina’s irate Representative Preston Brooks for some injudicious comments concerning Brook’s ill kinsman South Carolina’s Senator Butler. The author had hoped that a producer fact check would rectify Clayton’s historical mistake: unfortunately, no one, including colleagues, Alisyn Camerota, Dave Briggs, or Rick Reichmuth called him on it.

Furthermore, ironically, in a “48 Liberal Lies…” segment, Clayton committed a more egregious error with his assertion that both Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev ended the war: no, Ronald Reagan, Maggie Thatcher, and Pope John Paul II won that war.

http://us-civil-war.suite101.com/article.cfm/brooks_canes_sumner


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