In the interest of the reader knowing the truth

by Ron Gregory

It is likely good for readers to know that The Charleston Gazette and I have maintained a hate-hate relationship for about 25 years. I could sum it up from my side of the table by explaining that, as a Kanawha County and Charleston public official, I never consulted anyone at The Gazette before making a decision regarding public policy. Believe me, many other officials do just that but I was never inclined to see that anyone had elected anybody at The Gazette as their legal representative. That infuriates Gazette management and makes me one of their biggest villains.

Of course, there is a little more to the story than that. Nevertheless, the paper has specialized in half-truths, innuendo and out-and-out lies regarding me these past 25 years. As a public figure, it is virtually impossible for me to do anything about it. The standard for libel or slander is tremendously high when one is a public official. In other words, The Gazette can say virtually anything about me and I have no course of response.

Except here, maybe.

It has always been a true axiom not to “get in a pi-sing match with somebody who buys ink by the barrel.” The Gazette certainly does just that, but so do we at these newspapers. I don’t expect to make this into a weekly feud but I am pleased too tell you the most recent editorial about me written by The Gazette contains not one word of truth. A prime example would be that I was never fired from any public position, yet they have the nerve to say I was fired or demoted three times. Absolutely none of that is true; they did not report that at the time and they know better. But they also don’t care. They reported and know that I took better jobs each time I moved in those governmental positions. Nobody demoted me; nobody fired me.

Another perpetual distortion they love to hit is that I edited a magazine that supported the “slavery side” of the late War Between the States. As I have already noted in this column, it is historical fact that the Confederate States of America was little more devoted to slavery than the United States of 1861. The African-American savior, Abraham Lincoln, called black people an “inferior race” prior to deciding it would be politically expedient to free the slaves ONLY in the states in “rebellion.” That, in case you missed it, meant that slaves could — and were — still kept in what was illegally called West Virginia.

As I also mentioned in an earlier column, it was the Confederate White House in Richmond not the federal one in Washington, D.C. that housed the family that adopted an African-American boy and raised him as their own son. Jim Limber Davis became one of the Richmond household. The black woman who sewed Mary Todd Lincoln’s clothes was still treated like a slave in the “other” capitol. She was ordered to do her masterful work and was not paid a dime for doing so since she was African-American.

It does nothing to hinder my views that my ancestors — from north-central Gilmer County — were all in the Confederate military.

In the interest of the reader knowing the truth, I wanted to point out some of these things.

I challenge The Gazette to find a single African-American who has come in contact with me or been supervised by me that will say I treated him or her any differently than I did anyone else. I promoted more blacks at Charleston city hall than had ever been promoted. I do not see a difference in anyone because of skin color.

The Gazette recently editorialized about the amount of West Virginians who revere the memory of Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson, Confederate general supreme. Yet, in the past, they have called him a traitor and anything else you can think of. If Jackson was a traitor, then so were George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and all the so-called “founding fathers” who led a breakaway from the British Crown.

© 2013 Logan Banner

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