October 24, 2008

McCain volunteer’s hoax recalls 1976 Wisconsin Regnery hoax

Filed under: blog,Politics,racism — Tony Whitson @ 8:03 pm
Tags: , ,
Ashley Todd, a 20-year-old volunteer for the McCain campaign, admitted she lied in reporting a politically motivated attack that did not occur, according to police. (College Republicans)

Ashley Todd, a 20-year-old volunteer for the McCain campaign, admitted she lied in reporting a politically motivated attack that did not occur, according to police. (College Republicans)

The pathetic story of a McCain worker’s false report of being attacked, and cut on the face with a knife, by “a 6-foot-4 black male” —

“You are going to be a Barack supporter,” she said the robber told her before he sat on her chest, pinned her hands down with his knees and scratched the letter “B” on the right side of her face, using what she believed to be a very dull knife.

— seems to be a bizarre, isolated incident involving one sick individual.

But the incident is not so unique as we might expect.

Al Regnery is now identified with Regnery Publishing, Inc. Under his father’s leadership, the company published ideological but often intellectually respectable conservative and anti-communist books. Under the editorship of Marjory Ross, they now specialize in publishing raw sewage on the level of the Politically Incorrect Guides series.

Regnery served in the Reagan Justice Department as administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, where he “concentrated his office’s efforts on right-wing pet causes such as school discipline and the administration’s antipornography crusade.”

As reported in a New Republic story, when Regnery was running for DA in Dane County (Madison) Wisconsin in 1976:

In late October 1976 Regnery was winding up a campaign to become district attorney in Madison, Wisconsin. His wife had called the police three times in the weeks before the election to complain of obscene phone calls and vandalism. Regnery held a press conference to charge that his political opponents were using “Watergate-style tactics” to force him out of the race. When his wife called the police on the afternoon of October 31, 1976, the charge was much more serious. Christina Regnery, who was eight months pregnant, told police that two men broke into her home and warned that her husband should drop out of the race for district attorney. Then she said the two men had cut her with an embroidery knife and forced her to have oral sex.

The police investigation concluded that Christina Regnery had fabricated the entire incident–and Alfred Regnery told police that he too had “given serious thought” to that possibility. No neighbors had seen anything unusual, there was no sign of forced entry in the Regnery house, and no sign of struggle. In addition, although Christina Regnery had 73 slash marks on her body, none was serious. “Not a single cut required a stitch or a Band-Aid,” said one law-enforcement official involved. The police report concluded that “the infliction of the wounds on Mrs. Regnery are still questionable and may have been self-inflicted or done by subjects known to her. There is no indication that any unknown subjects inflicted any of the injuries.” Regnery and the police agreed that they would “pursue the possibility of self-inflicted injuries.” The report also said that it was “decided at this time that Mr. Regnery would not disclose any of the circumstances surrounding the incident.”

Only minutes later, however, Regnery told a newspaper reporter in the hospital corridor, according to the police report, “that his wife had been raped by a white male and a black male and had been stabbed. … The wounds had been stitched.” Of course, his wife had never alleged that she was raped, she was clearly not the victim of a stabbing, and she had not required any stitches. But Regnery’s false claims were useful to his campaign. The headline in the Madison paper, “Two Attack Wife of D.A. Candidate,” seemed to substantiate Regnery’s earlier charges. Nevertheless, Regnery lost the election.

This most recent hoax looks like one more expression of a fear fantasy with deep roots in a collective psyche of Americans among whom such stories meet ready credulity.


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