In the ongoing contest to defame gubernatorial candidate Kris Kobach, the Topeka Capital-Journal surged into the lead with its headline story, “GOP consultants say Kobach campaign has white nationalists on payroll.”
The unnamed “consultants” identified three young Kobach door knockers as members of a group called “American Heritage Initiative.” Topeka Capital-Journal reporter Sherman Smith claims this group is “a splinter of Identity Evropa.” Smith reaches deep into the sleaze file to cite the race-baiting Southern Poverty Law Center on Identity Europa’s “white supremacy” agenda.
Smith should have done at least a little bit of homework before slandering the three named young men. A Google search reveals no such group. There is an “American Heritage Initiative” that has been launched by a group called New Revolution Now that even the SPLC would be hard pressed to call racist.
Among the group’s listed “successes” in a recent Texas legislative session are “reduced property taxes,” “reduced franchise taxes,” and “ended diversions from state highway funds.”
Two of the three Kobach staffers do belong to a group called the American Heartland Initiative. “Our vision is an America more united and successful than ever before,” reads the AHI mission statement. “To make this happen, the people must stand behind the ideals of tradition, labor, and family.”
The group’s Twitter feed clarifies that The American Heartland Initiative encourages young men to do the following: “attend church and seek God, go to the gym regularly, stop watching porn/reject masturbation, volunteer in their communities, analyze literature.” This group is no more white supremacist than is the Boy Scouts of America.
Although Smith does not identify Jim Echols as the “consultants” in the headline, he gives an unseemly amount of unchallenged space to this acknowledged “friend and supporter of Gov. Jeff Colyer,” Kobach’s leading opponent.
Reports Smith, presumably with a straight face, “Jim Echols, whose career is dedicated to cultural relations, said he has seen a dramatic increase in ‘nativist behaviors’ over the past three to five years.” The SPLC has been raising money off this same alarmist nonsense for the past 30 years.
“I’m concerned about it,” Echols told Smith, “but my approach, rather than using a lot of breath and time dealing with it, is to realize that I can make choices as to which candidates I can support.” Yes, that much is obvious. The article, in fact, reads like an ad for Echols’s new business, Renaissance Management and Training, an outfit “that trains and develops staff for gender and race relations.”
Yes, if there were a Pulitzer for slander, the Sentinel would nominate Sherman Smith’s article. The Topeka Capital-Journal has engaged in “journalism” on the level of the Steele dossier, opposition research that should have been shot down after five seconds on Google.