A Lesson in Being Skeptical
I mean, you’ve already deduced that the title here is false. One might accuse me of having put it there to, let’s say, bait for clicks. And to a point, guilty as charged. But I’ve got a real point too.
My first warning that something might just maybe be amiss on the purported KKK dump was that Indiana Senator Dan Coates was on it. I am not fan of Coates, but by red-state standards he is pretty moderate. He is something of a fossil, having returned to Congress after serving the 90s. He’s adapted to this more extreme era, but he has leaned much more moderate than many of the newer Senators. While his track record on race leaves much to be desired, he does not fit the profile for KKK member.
Remember: Accusing someone of being a member of the KKK is accusing them of being a terrorist.
Vox has a good rundown on why you should not believe the evidence that has been released, why we might have more credible evidence coming, and some context around it. The part that caught my eye is here:
But the most important thing to know about these lists is that the people who posted them seem to believe that anyone whose contact information is in a KKK database must be a KKK member.
I get a lot of political emails. And truthfully, most of them go unread. But there are a number of organizations that have my contact information exactly because I disagree with them. The National Organization for Marriage, the Indiana Family Institute, and Florida Family Association all send me updates. I endorse none of them—I get their public dispatches because at one time or another it was useful for me to know their public statements. The longer you organize or politic, the more people you disagree with end up with your name in their black book.
I would like to know how Coates ended up on the list. His few minutes of embarrassment explaining why he gets KKK emails should suffice. I would especially love if his answer were, “Because I’m announcing my new anti-racist platform we’ve been developing.” I won’t hold my breath.
It is easy to accuse someone being a member of the KKK. (SERIOUSLY GUYS, BARACK OBAMA IS A MEMBER OF THE KKK! SERIOUSLY!!!) It is harder to provide evidence for such claims. We should probably treat Thursday’s dox—and make no mistake, this is a dox—with some skepticism as well.
But they at least seem to have decided on a respectable standard of proof.