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Robert Stacy McCain, a former key Washington Times editor who has suggested that “perfectly rational people” react with “altogether natural revulsion” to interracial marriage, apparently has returned as a free-lancer to the newspaper he left in January 2008. In a “Special to The Washington Times” article published today, McCain covers a congressional race in upstate New York involving a candidate with connections to the Tea Party movement.
A casualty of the housecleaning that occurred at the Times three years ago, McCain left the paper on his own accord after managing editor Fran Coombs, with whom he was close, was terminated (Coombs had his own connections to white supremacy).
Once identified as a member of the neo-Confederate hate group League of the South, McCain’s reporting while at the Times was always controversial. As editor of the “Culture Briefs” section of the paper, McCain used excerpts from racist publications including American Renaissance magazine and the anti-immigrant hate site VDARE.com. In fact, McCain may be the only mainstream newspaper reporter to have covered four American Renaissance conferences. Twice, he offered no description at all of the group he was covering, which is devoted to race science. Once, he said it was “critical of liberal positions on race and immigration.” Only in 2004 did he note that some viewed it as racist.
Breaching journalist ethics by reporting on causes he was personally involved in, McCain regularly quoted neo-Confederate activists favorably in his stories. In 2005, stories freelanced by McCain to the website of the conservative newspaper Human Events were scrubbed after that publication’s editor, Thomas Winter, was given information by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report about McCain’s racism.
It is unclear if McCain’s return is related in any way to the resignation last year of John Solomon, the longtime Associated Press reporter who was brought in as the Times’ executive editor in 2008 after the dismissal of Coombs and others. Solomon’s hire was widely seen as the Times’ effort to clean up a reputation that was badly soiled by its overt partisanship.
Since leaving the Times, McCain has run a rather prolific and bombastic blog about politics and culture. An E-mail seeking comment today from McCain about the nature of his rekindled relationship with the Times was not immediately answered.