Rejected By the History Channel

The History Channel will air pretty much anything related to history regardless of how nutty it is.  However, it turns out that even the HC has standards, which apparently do not include the Georgia Division SCV’s series of videos on the Civil WarAccording to Stephen Clay McGehee (aka “Confederate Colonel”) “the History Channel received a complaint from a liberal blogger and Friday they reacted as liberals so often do – they have pulled the videos from their broadcast schedule.”  Now, I just want to state for the record that I am not the “liberal blogger” who contacted the History Channel.  Like I said, given the HC’s programming, I can’t think of a better place for these videos.

Let’s face it, the past few weeks have not been kind to the SCV.  It started with Governor McDonnell’s announcement that next April will be designated as Civil War History in Virginia Month followed by this past week’s outrage over a black Confederate reference in a 4th Grade History textbook.  And now the SCV can’t even air its preferred view of the past on a network that includes shows on UFOs and guys who drive trucks on ice.

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32 thoughts on “Rejected By the History Channel

  1. Stephen Clay McGehee

    RE: The comment “Talk about a wannabe” and your statement implying that I refer to myself as “Confederate Colonel”

    Confederate Colonel is the name of the blog. You will not find anywhere on there where “Confederate Colonel” refers to me or anyone else. If you have any interest in accuracy, the “a.k.a.” should be removed and replaced with something like “owner of the Confederate Colonel blog”. I suspect that you do not introduce yourself with “Hello, my name is Civil War Memory” and would appreciate the same courtesy.

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      1. Jacob

        Since McGehee’s author bio specifies that he was “awarded the title of Kentucky Colonel,” it’s easy to see how you’d think “Confederate Colonel” refers to him. By the way, any self-respecting Kentuckian knows that “Colonel” is a purely honorary title given to anyone who is recommended for it by another member of the Kentucky Colonels. The Colonels don’t even check to make sure that you’re recommending a person. My best friend’s dog became a Colonel two or three years ago. The dog, though, is a Unionist.

        Reply
  2. Rob Wick

    Methinks there must be something more to this than an unnamed “liberal blogger” who has the power to put the fear of whatever into the History Channel. Maybe someone at the network realized that this did nothing to enhance their already-flagging reputation and decided it was time to pull the plug.

    Maybe someday you’ll have that power Kevin! :)

    Best
    Rob

    Reply
  3. Brooks D. Simpson

    “We will cover the story behind how these videos came to be in a later post, but for right now, this refusal to run the videos is the most pressing issue. We have got to do whatever we can to make sure these videos have the widest audience possible, and few things pique the curiosity of people more than hearing that something has been banned. Take full advantage of it.” — from “Confederate Colonel.”

    Ah, the drama. Makes one wonder who that “liberal blogger” really was. Maybe someone pretending to be a “liberal blogger” who wanted to direct a little more attention to the SCV? Next, on the History Channel: “Textbooks and Truth, A SCV Tale … or, Heritage, not History.”

    My understanding is that the History Channel decides its own programming. To say that a decision not to run something is “banning” it strikes me as exaggeration for effect. Given what airs on the HC and its various versions, I’m amazed they have any standards at all.

    Reply
    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      Brooks,

      If you are suggesting that there is no “liberal blogger” than I am with you. I must assume that the HC reviewed the videos and made a decision that they were inadequate or inappropriate. Your questions point to the fundamental problems with this series. Thanks.

      Reply
  4. Brooks D. Simpson

    Well, let’s look at one of these videos:

    http://www.confederatecolonel.com/?p=989

    First, can someone spell Morrill? And, “Confederate Colonel,” how do we spell “tariff”? Just asking. My, but these videos have high production values.

    Second, could anyone tell me when the Morrill Tariff was passed? The video says 1859. Now, don’t all of you raise your hands at once. Next, please show me where the legislation raised “tariffs on the South.” Does someone happen to know what a tariff is? Does one place it on a state or a section? Is it on imports or exports? Hands, please? And was the Morrill Tariff passed by Congress before or after the secession of seven states?

    Bueller … Bueller …

    Reply
    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      Brooks,

      It looks like the “Confederate Colonel” has acknowledged the error:

      “I hate to have to report this, but when reading about this on a very anti-Southern site, I have learned of at least one factual error on one of the videos. The date given for the Morrill Tariff was given as 1859. I did a quick Google search on “Morrill Tariff 1859″ and could find no logical link between the two. This would have been a simple thing to fact-check, yet it didn’t happen. Why do we keep shooting ourselves in the foot like this? Just because those who hate The South and everything we stand for twist and distort facts is no excuse for us to do the same.

      We will, as quickly as possible, correct errors when we make them regardless of what others do. The blog post that I am referring to quoted this post and attributed it to “Stephen Clay McGehee (aka “Confederate Colonel)”, giving folks ample opportunity to portray me as some guy pretending to be a Confederate Colonel. I pointed out that “Confederate Colonel” is the name of this blog project and nowhere on here will you see “Confederate Colonel” referring to me or anyone else. It is the name of the blog. Period. Despite pointing that out and asking that the description be changed, it still stands as written. It serves their purpose, so facts don’t matter to them.

      Just because they won’t let facts get in the way of their agenda is no excuse for us to do the same. We MUST do a better job of checking facts. We have all read enough to know that the truth is on our side. Things like this just make us look like fools.

      As far as the details of exactly why the video series was pulled by The History Channel – I have reported it exactly as it was told to me by someone with the authority to do so and I followed up by asking that what I wrote was accurate. End of story.”

      Reply
      1. Brooks D. Simpson

        It gets even better in Mr. McGehee’s own response section:

        “This whole thing – and I refer mainly to the posts on another blog – is why I don’t try to get into historical discussions with folks. They were attacking the lack of attention to detail in the videos. They were legitimate points, but does it really matter that a piece of legislation was adopted in 1861 and not 1859? Certainly it matters to some degree and not getting that correct was inexcusable, but those who focus on that sort of thing are giving the right answers to the wrong questions. The focus was effectively shifted away from the topic and onto a date. They cannot argue on principle, so they focus on relatively meaningless details as though that somehow proves that The Southerners were the bad guys. Pathetic.”

        Now, how does correcting incorrect information lead to proving “The Southerners” were the bad guys? Mr. McGehee fails to explain that. Nor was the incorrect date the only problem with the video. But in this case, it’s really important that we are talking about a piece of legislation that was passed AFTER seven states had seceded that is used in the video to explain why those seven states seceded. Event A can’t cause event B if event A happens after event B.

        Now, I’m sure we’ll hear from Mr. McGehee that pointing out faulty logic is yet more evidence of a conspiracy to prove “The Southerners” were bad guys. This in itself is faulty logic, but it sure does help explain why Mr. McGehee doesn’t want to discuss history. Every time he seeks to correct misinformation (and minimize its impact), he simply makes more mistakes. Pathetic indeed.

        Again, it’s Heritage, not History.

        Reply
        1. Kevin Levin Post author

          This is truly hilarious and disturbing at the same time. So much for this individual’s credibility.

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    1. Margaret D. Blough

      Marc-I think there were earlier attempts to pass higher tariffs. Many outside the slave states blamed the drastic lowering of tariffs and removing items for tariff protection in the 1857 tariff law for the ensuing Panic of 1857 and the depression that followed. (James Hammond’s infamous “King Cotton” speech was pretty much gloating over the fact that the slave states had not been much affected by the Panic of 1847 and its aftermath). I’m doubtful that the Morrill Tariff would have even passed when it did in early 1861 were it not for the fact that most of the senators and congressmen from the rebel states had already resigned. Also war was on the horizon and there was very little money in the government coffers.

      P.S. I wonder how many neo-Confederates know or even care that it was James Buchanan who signed the Morrill Tariff into law. (I wish I had a dollar for every one of them that I had to inform that March 4, not January 20, was Inauguration Day until 1937).

      Reply
      1. Brooks D. Simpson

        There are so many problems with the debate over tariff policy as a cause of secession that it’s hard to know where to begin. But it is evident that many white southerners had no problems with a low tariff if they felt that would reward their economic interests, and opposed a high tariff because it challenged their economic interest. So it’s not an issue of principle, but interest, and white southerners were as motivated by their own economic interests as were their white northern counterparts. Moreover, there were economic interests in the South that favored high tariffs, just as there was an element in the North that argued for low tariffs or even free trade.
        Finally, once we set aside the notion that this was a debate over principle in favor of one as to how federal policy favored economic interests, we would have to acknowledge the other ways in which federal policy served economic interests, including slavery. That would include federal court decisions, including the Dred Scott decision. The same goes for state rights: those who associate the South with state rights have a hard time explaining the federal bureaucracy set up in support of that expansion of federal power supported by slaveholders which is known as the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850. And, of course, Jefferson Davis was not always friendly to the notion of state rights when he was presiding over the Confederacy, as events in Georgia and North Carolina would suggest (is there an episode on Joe Brown in the Georgia SCV video series?). And, if the CSA was all about self-determination, what are we to say about events in western Virginia, East Tennessee, and western North Carolina, to name just three places? It would be too easy to show that slavery itself repudiates self-determination.

        Maybe the SCV will produce videos on these questions, including an extended treatment of Alexander Stephens’ Cornerstone Speech. He was from Georgia, right?

        Once more, it’s Heritage, not History.

        Reply
        1. Kevin Levin Post author

          All good points, Brooks. It also doesn’t help us to understand the centralization of power within the Confederate government during the war.

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          1. Margaret D. Blough

            Well, a lot of the blaming Lincoln for big government ignores the fact that the Confederacy was forced towards a stronger, more centralized government (although it didn’t do it as well or as quickly) for the very same reason that Lincoln was: THERE WAS A WAR ON. One of the biggest concerns with the original Articles of Confederation was the inability of the U.S. government to adequately provide for the common defense, including being able to raise its own revenues rather than requesting them for the state. As the war experience faded, the Republicans, for most of the rest of the 19th century, presided over an intensely laissez-faire federal government.

            The pre-war supporters of government funding of internal improvements did not necessarily also support a stronger federal government. They needed to money to open up the midwest and west to development by whites since they could hardly raise enough on their own but that was about as far as it went. As a “westerner”, Lincoln certainly believed in government funding of internal improvements but I’ve seen nothing that indicates that he believed that the federal government should run them in peacetime.

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  5. Margaret D. Blough

    Correction: that is the Panic of 1857 not 1847 (I miss the earlier format where editing was possible if one missed a typo before hitting “submit”.)

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  6. badgervan

    My initial comment was dissed by Kevin, and I really don’t understand why. When these Civil War revisionists around the web use a term such as “Confederate Colonel” to name their personal blogs, it is for a very serious reason; it goes to the heart of this topic being “discussed” around the blogosphere that many contemporary southern CW bloggers, and many southerners in general ( this I personally experienced ) are fighting their own war to somehow change history and make the South the good guys – they are still fighting that Civil War, only this time they see themselves as colonels, generals, etc. in their efforts to revise history. If you’re going to call your blog “The Confederate Colonel”, please don’t try and snow us by saying it has nothing to do with seeing yourself as said colonel…. that’s not even grade school lever word parsing.
    These revisionists are out to change history… by any means necessary, and honesty and proven fact(s) have nothing to do with it. The Confederate Colonel really does see himself as a high ranking officer in the modern day army to change what our kids learn about that war, what goes into books and articles about that subject, and a total dismissal of slavery as the primary cause of that war.
    And to that commentor on the colonel’s site: the South WERE the bad guys – that is settled and provern history, no matter how many sons and daughters of the confederacy insist otherwise.

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  7. Brooks D. Simpson

    I was even more impressed in a different way by the video highlighted by Mr. McGehee today.

    http://www.confederatecolonel.com/?p=993

    It’s amusing to listen to the narrator’s commentary in light of Mr. McGehee’s comment: “When I see the mocking and venomous attacks by Northerners against Southern heritage and culture, I see no hope for true reconciliation. Today’s video and Friday’s video bring this into sharp focus.”

    Yes, in an interesting way this video brings into sharp focus the views of some folks. But who is attacking whom in the video? Discuss.

    Heritage, not history: your new SCV.

    Reply
    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      The “Colonel” is in rare form today. What I find funny is that even after acknowledging the problem with the video he still has it posted on his site. I guess it still serves a purpose within the broader defense against the war on the South. I assume this blogger has me in mind in the following comment:

      “I do need to add here that among the comments written on the high school history teacher’s blog, I have seen evidence that at least one of the comment writers has some level of interest in accuracy rather than the all-out Slam The South agenda that the school teacher has. It’s not worth dealing with though. Ultimately those who post on places like that will be satisfied with nothing less than a signed confession that The North was the Knight in Shining Armor that saved the country (if not the world) by thoroughly vanquishing the evil and wicked slave-beating Southern white trash who had the audacity to withdraw from political enslavement. Yes, that’s what it is – political enslavement. Those states who dare to leave the federal plantation will be hunted down and shot; their homes and fields and cities will be burned to the ground; their cultural memory erased by politicians and history teachers. It makes individual slavery look pretty tame by comparison.”

      A textbook example of a strawman argument.

      Reply
      1. Brooks D. Simpson

        “Ultimately those who post on places like that will be satisfied with nothing less than a signed confession that The North was the Knight in Shining Armor that saved the country (if not the world) by thoroughly vanquishing the evil and wicked slave-beating Southern white trash who had the audacity to withdraw from political enslavement. Yes, that’s what it is – political enslavement. Those states who dare to leave the federal plantation will be hunted down and shot; their homes and fields and cities will be burned to the ground; their cultural memory erased by politicians and history teachers. It makes individual slavery look pretty tame by comparison.”

        Really? Come on now, really?

        Reply
    2. Brooks D. Simpson

      Moreover, two illustrations are rather badly mishandled. The image depicting punishment by pillory is from Cromwell’s England, and the formal ball image is a post Civil War image, as one can readily see from the costumes. Why does the Georgia SCV endorse such poorly-researched videos? Is there any wonder why any reputable channel (even the History Channel) might decline to air them?

      Heritage, not history: Believe what you want to believe.

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    1. Margaret D. Blough

      As Samuel Johnson said in 1775 about the rebellious Americans: “How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes?”

      Reply
  8. John Stoudt

    “state-level fascist policies prior to the war” OK, now you have my attention.

    Here is the sentence from Mark Thornton’s review of Majewski’s book, excerpted on amazon.com:”Majewski has convinced me that there were enough of these central-planning extremists to advocate and implement state-level fascist policies prior to the war and Confederate-level fascist policies during the Civil War.”

    I have wondered how heritage can provide an umbrella large enough for the free marketers and Libertarians to remain in common cause with the Confederate apologists.

    At some point the free marketers will learn that antebellum Southern political leaders and social commentators were not all laissez-faire purists. Likewise, Libertarians will eventually realize that Southern state governments (before the war) and the Confederate government restricted civil liberties.

    I have no doubt that this coalition will hold together, but it is surprising — and refreshing — to read a Libertarian free marketer critically analyze the antebellum South and the Confederacy.

    Reply
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  10. Ray O'Hara

    How bad was it that even the HC channel rejected it,
    their stock in trade is myth, fantasy and incorrect video that never matches the narration.

    Reply

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