Bombshell: Mark Pryor called desegregation of schools a ‘figurative’ invasion

The Washington Free Beacon has done it again.

Beacon reporter Alana Goodman earned scorn from the legacy press after she had the temerity to travel to Arkansas and dig through local archives where she uncovered a variety of new details about Hillary Clinton. Left-leaning journalists like Joe Klein and Andrea Mitchell could barely contain their disdain for The Beacon while reporting on the details that Goodman discovered regarding the conduct and temperament of someone who had been among America’s most popular political figures for over two decades.

Today, Goodman has uncovered more details about a Democratic officeholder which were curiously overlooked by most of the nation’s journalistic establishment.

After visiting the University of Arkansas special collections library, which Goodman notes “suspended the Washington Free Beacon‘s library privileges earlier this year” after she proved especially adept at navigating the archives, Goodman uncovered Pryor’s 1985 thesis which she says was influenced by his father’s 1984 senatorial campaign.

In that thesis, Goodman found that Pryor had called the famous moment in which American troops forcibly desegregated schools in Little Rock an “invasion.”

“Arkansas has been invaded unwillingly twice. Once in reality and once figuratively,” wrote Pryor.
“The Civil War provided the real invasion. The figurative invasion took place in 1957 at Little Rock Central High School. That event took a local problem out of the local authorities’ hands. The federal government had again forced its will on the people of Arkansas.”

In 1957, Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus deployed the Arkansas National Guard to prevent nine black students from attending the state’s segregated all-white Central High School in Little Rock. President Dwight Eisenhower responded by ordering the U.S. Army to escort the students into the school and federalized the Arkansas National Guard.

While Pryor wrote that the Arkansas governor’s refusal to integrate the school caused an “embarrassing escapade that marred our character and reputation greatly,” he also argued that the “state had suffered enough” from the federal desegregation effort and “so it formed an iron-clad Democratic machine and would accept no challenge to it.”

Pryor’s thesis is not an endorsement of segregation. The senator called the refusal of some of his state’s to accept integration an “embarrassing escapade that marred our character and reputation greatly.” Why this is only coming to light now should raise eyebrows across the country, however, and particularly in those newsrooms that dropped the ball on investigating Pryor’s past. It is not as though reporters fail to look into the theses of Republican candidates.

When former Bob McDonnell was running for governor in Virginia, the political press uncovered his 20-year-old graduate thesis in the summer of an election year and forced him to backtrack from a position he held at the time which viewed feminism as hostile to the family. Virginia House candidate Dave Brat found his thesis in the spotlight just hours after he defeated Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) in a Republican primary.

In both of the above cases, the uncovered theses turned out to be a fleeting campaign issue. Similarly, Mark Pryor’s thesis is unlikely to upend the race for Senate in Arkansas, or even to reshape how Arkansans view their senator. In the same way that Goodman uncovered heretofore unknown details about the life of Hillary Clinton, however, her investigation is a blow to the credibility of the political press which never bothered to even investigate Pryor’s writings.

If they did, they certainly did not make much of an issue of Pryor calling the paratroopers who forcibly desegregated Little Rock’s schools an “invasion,” figurative or otherwise.

Once again, Goodman and the Free Beacon have done the work that the political press refused to do. If there remains some capacity for shame in the nation’s newsrooms, let’s hope they are enduring a bit of it today.