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Ex-Newsweek Editor Jon Meacham Links Civil War to 'Neo-Confederate' Conservatives

Writing in the April 11 edition of Parade magazine, former Newsweek editor Jon Meacham commemorated the 150th anniversary of the Civil War by linking modern conservatives to the old Confederacy and bigotry against African Americans.

The journalist hinted, "This year, as the 2012 presidential campaign gets under way, two powerful forces will intersect: the commemorations of the Civil War and the opposition to President Obama's policies."

After explaining that the Sons of Confederate Veterans in South Carolina hosted a "Secession Ball," Meacham predicted that "the rhetoric of resistance to Washington will inevitably resonate."

The author attempted to define and connect conservatives, some of whom he defined as "neo-Confederates," to southern racism:

Today, a new battle for history is being waged, with political conservatives casting the Civil War as a struggle against Big Government, with only tangential connections to slavery. These neo-Confederates contend that one can honor the South's heritage without condoning its institutionalized racism. But as a historian and as a Southerner, I believe that is a losing cause. Without what our seventh vice president, John C. Calhoun, called the South's "peculiar domestic institution," there would have been no Civil War. There can be no revision of this inescapable reality.

An April 2011 report by the Culture and Media Institute (part of the MRC), pointed out how journalists are attempting to associate the Civil War of 1861 to conservatives today:

Led by Chris Matthews, MSNBC's prime time hosts - Ed Schultz, Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O'Donnell and Keith Olbermann (and Cenk Uygur, Olbermann's replacement) - are obsessed with drawing modern parallels to the politics that tore the nation apart a century and a half ago. The election of the nation's first black president, their theme goes, has awakened - especially in the South - the latent Confederate sympathies and secessionist tendencies of conservative America.

Oddly, towards the end of the piece, Meacham seemed to contradict the article's larger point: "And the Civil War's true legacy is not about Big Government or today's political skirmishing-it's about a nation's obligation to live up to the best part of itself. Slavery was an evil, and it had to be defeated."

Yet, his earlier examples cite but a few examples to prove that conservatives think of themselves as part of a modern day Confederacy.

This sort of attack shouldn't be surprising. Meacham previously invoked Timothy McVeigh and Lee Harvey Oswald to worry about Anti-Obama "hate."

- Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.