Nebraska Board of Education member Pat McPherson recently came under fire for several racially-charged posts on a blog he operates and edits called “Objective Conservative.”
The post that initially drew media attention was about President Obama’s recent proposal to provide two free years of community college.
The passage in question reads: “Now our great Black Leader (actually, if he were a Republican the liberals would call him what he is – a half-breed) in Washington wants to give everyone a free community college education.”
The chairman of the state’s Democratic Party, Vince Powers, called for McPherson’s resignation. Newly inaugurated Gov. Pete Ricketts has also been critical of the phrasing.
Upon further investigation, McPherson’s blog was found to have used similar phrasing and made other racist assertions in the past. McPherson has disavowed the post in question, deleted all previous posts and effectively shut down the blog. The language, he says, isn’t something he would have approved had he read it beforehand.
Because McPherson said he didn’t write it. He said he has a handful of contributors who have posted without his prior approval, and the posts that have been criticized were written by these contributors. If he had written it, he said, he would have added his name.
It’s not surprising that, after making those comments, McPherson chose to effectively shutter “Objective Conservative.” Using a crafty Internet tool called “Wayback Machine,” users can still view previous iterations of his blog and read the posts that have been removed.
It’s plain to see McPherson doesn’t usually add his name to posts he has authored, as he claims. Several posts are content hosted from others, such as the Heritage Foundation, and it’s very clear that these were not written by him or his “contributors.”
Nearly every other post, however, is simply labeled “Objective Conservative,” which readers could only assume is the same “objective conservative” who created and operated the blog. There was never any reason to assume otherwise, until McPherson found it necessary to divorce himself from some of the language. They don’t include his name, nor do they include anyone else’s.
While there’s no conclusive evidence that McPherson was actually the author of those racially charged phrases, we’re skeptical of his responses.
At the very least, we can say that McPherson has been highly irresponsible in managing his blog, which is supposed to be a venue for his objective views. He’s a government official, and a member of the State Board of Education, and people visiting his blog are expecting to see his views. If it’s not actually a venue for his views, and if his contributors are willing to say things with which he does not agree, then why did he not take the time to carefully edit their posts, or at the very least, actually read them?
There are two possibilities here: either McPherson wrote some of the passages in question and is now backtracking to save face, or his management of the blog has been grossly negligent to the point of bigotry. Either possibility betrays qualities that are incompatible with any elected position, let alone one prescribed the responsibility to manage that which is most imperative, our children’s education.