Friday, May 2, 2014

How Sen. Harry Reid spins the family history of a horse thief in the family tree

The following was on an egroup I am a member 
of and is a real lesson in political spin. 

Remember folks, these are the kind of people 
you are dealing with at least to some extent, with 
most politicians, this being the most egregious 
example of "spin," or restating facts in terms that
have radically different implications, of course.

"Judy Walkman,a professional genealogy 
researcher in southern California, was doing 
some personal work on her own family tree. 
She discovered that Senator Harry Reid's 
great-great uncle, Remus Reid, was hanged for 
horse stealing and train robbery in Montana in 
1889. Both Judy and Harry Reid share this 
common ancestor.

The only known photograph of Remus shows 
him standing on the gallows in Montana territory: 
On the back of the picture Judy obtained during her
research is this inscription: 'Remus Reid, horse 
thief, sent to Montana Territorial Prison 1885, 
escaped 1887, robbed the Montana Flyer six 
times. Caught by Pinkerton detectives, convicted 
and hanged in 1889.'

So Judy recently e-mailed Senator Harry Reid 
for information about their great-great uncle.

[NOTE: I assume she didn't include any of this 

Harry Reid: Believe it or not, Harry Reid's staff 
sent back the following biographical sketch for 
her genealogy research:

"Remus Reid was a famous cowboy in the Montana Territory . 
His business empire grew to include acquisition of valuable 
equestrian assets and intimate dealings with the Montana 
railroad. Beginning in 1883, he devoted several years of 
his life to government service, finally taking leave to resume 
his dealings with the railroad. In 1887, he was a key player 
in a vital investigation by the renowned Pinkerton Detective 
Agency. In 1889, Remus passed away during an important 
civic function held in his honor when the platform upon 
which he was standing collapsed."

Now THAT’s how it’s done, Folks!
That’s real Political Spin!!"

Let's look at that again to be sure you get the picture.

"Remus Reid was a famous cowboy in the Montana Territory . 
His business empire grew to include acquisition of valuable 
equestrian assets [he was a horse thief] and intimate dealings 
with the Montana railroad. [he robbed the railroad.] Beginning 
in 1883, he devoted several years of his life to government 
service, [he was in prison] finally taking leave [he escaped] to 
resume his dealings with the railroad. [he kept robbing the 
railroad.] In 1887, he was a key player in a vital investigation 
by the renowned Pinkerton Detective Agency. [he was the 
object of the investigation.] In 1889, Remus passed away 
during an important civic function held in his honor when 
the platform upon which he was standing collapsed." [he 
was publicly hung, and the trapdoor he stood on with the 
noose around his neck was opened so he was hung by
the neck till he died.]



  1. commenting on my own post, a thought has crossed my mind, regarding the Pinkerton Detective Agency investigation of Remus Reid.

    Unless this consisted of nothing but hunting him with armed detectives, just how much investigation
    does a guy like this need? unless there was some conspiratorial thing supporting him.....

  2. the spin from Reid's office came to my mind again when I was reading this:

    "It would not be impossible to prove with sufficient repetition and a psychological understanding of the people concerned that a square is in fact a circle. They are mere words, and words can be molded until they clothe ideas and disguise reality."

    - Joseph Goebbels
    Propaganda Minister for the Third Reich