News Analysis Oct 30, 2020 4:31 PM EST

AP 'fact checks' claim Joe Biden eulogized a KKK 'grand wizard' because Byrd was merely an 'exalted cyclops'

While there may be nothing wrong with Biden's eulogy, his taking Byrd as a friend, or his appreciation of the man, the AP's fact check as "partially false" is entirely misleading.

AP 'fact checks' claim Joe Biden eulogized a KKK 'grand wizard' because Byrd was merely an 'exalted cyclops'
Libby Emmons Brooklyn, NY
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Claims that Joe Biden eulogized a KKK Grand Wizard, former Senator Robert Byrd at his funeral in 2010, have been fact checked by the AP, who determined that the statement is "partly false," because Byrd, was not a Grand Wizard but something called an "exalted cyclops." Oh. Ok then.

The AP, it seems, really didn't want this to be true. But Biden did give a eulogy for his colleague Robert Byrd. Byrd, who died in 2010 at the age of 92, was a member of the KKK from his home state of West Virginia in the 1940s. While he later said that he regretted his involvement, he certainly was involved, and Biden did give a eulogy at his funeral.

The AP fact checked a Facebook post, that read "When he died in 2010, former KKK Grand Wizard Robert Byrd was eulogized by Joe Biden. Go ahead Facebook fact-checkers. Verify this. I DARE YOU!"

The AP dared, and found that "the post is misleading," all because the poster got Byrd's title wrong. He wasn't a "grand wizard," but an "exalted cyclops," and this was an elected post. Byrd was also opposed to civil rights legislation during his time in the Senate, and was the longest serving senator in Senate history.

In Byrd's autobiography, he said that his joining and serving in an elected position with the KKK was "an extraordinarily foolish mistake."

Byrd wrote that "My only explanation for the entire episode is that I was sorely afflicted with tunnel vision — a jejune and immature outlook — seeing only what I wanted to see because I thought the Klan could provide an outlet for my talents and ambitions."

Hi change, while noted by the NAACP, has little bearing on the AP's assertion of this post as "partially false." Biden said that Byrd was a "mentor" and a "friend," and the two were colleagues in the senate from Biden's beginning in 1972 through Byrd's departure from his post.

While there may be nothing wrong with Biden's eulogy, his taking Byrd as a friend, or his appreciation of the man, the AP's fact check as "partially false" is entirely misleading.

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