A Poor Piece of Reporting: Virginia’s Civil War Heritage

There’s been a rumor circulating lately in Confederate Heritage circles that there’s a plan afoot to merge the Museum of the Confederacy, the The American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar, and the Virginia Historical Society. That rumor’s been discussed and discounted in qualified news sources.

But sometimes someone in the media slips badly. Such is the case with this report. The reporter, one Tracy Agnew, simply interviewed one person, looked at one website, and took what she read there at face value. Apparently it was too difficult for her to do anything more.

Of course, this could also present an opportunity for many of you out there to contact Ms. Agnew and tell her a tale in the knowledge that she’s not good at checking out her sources or confirming her story. One can only imagine what someone might do with that knowledge in hand.

6 thoughts on “A Poor Piece of Reporting: Virginia’s Civil War Heritage

  1. M.D. Blough August 7, 2013 / 3:42 pm


    This is the e-mail I sent her and her response:

    From: “Tracy Agnew”
    To: “Margaret D. Blough”
    Sent: Wednesday, August 7, 2013 3:56:05 PM
    Subject: Re: Your August 7 museum merger

    Ms. Blough,

    Yes, I did attempt to contact the Museum of the Confederacy, and they did not call me back.



    Tracy Agnew, news editor
    Suffolk Publications
    757-934-9609 phone
    130 S. Saratoga St.
    Suffolk, VA 23434
    Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/facebooksnh
    Twitter: twitter.com/suffolknews

    On Wed, Aug 7, 2013 at 3:52 PM, Margaret D. Blough wrote:
    Dear Ms. Agnew:

    I read your article and found it disturbingly lacking in research. All you did was regurgitate, without any examination, the SCV’s claims. A minimal amount of research would have provided ample rebuttal for the claims. http://rvanews.com/news/despite-rumors-local-museums-will-not-merge/100088. Did you contact any of the organizations named about this before writing the article? In addition, Mr. Pullen’s standards for a museum to be “Confederate-friendly” would rule out any reputable museum since it would require ignoring what the secessionists themselves said and wrote about their reasons for rebelling. Also, to deny it was a civil war requires, among other things, ignoring generally accepted definitions of the term, President Lincoln’s own wording in the Gettysburg Address “Now we are engaged in a great civil war”, and the US Supreme Court’s 1862 decision in the Brig Amy Warwick et al., better known as The Prize Cases 67 U.S. 635 which can can be found at
    http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0067_0635_ZO.html or http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?navby=case&court=us&vol=67&invol=635. The other term used at the time was the Rebellion. The official compendium of correspondence, official reports, etc. from both sides was, initially, The Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, then, later, The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (often referred to as “The OR”) which was published over a 20 year period (1880-1901) when, not only were many Civil War veterans alive but many US armed services veterans were in the highest positions of authority in the US government.

    Please do better the next time you write on these issues.

    Very truly yours,

    Margaret D. Blough
    Harrisburg, PA

    • Brooks D. Simpson August 7, 2013 / 3:58 pm

      Usually a reporter would include the statement …

      “The Museum of the Confederacy did not return a call for comment.”

      Of course, there are two other agencies involved: The ACW Center at Tredegar and the VHS, but Agnew’s reporting skills did not extend that far, by her own admission.

      • M.D. Blough August 7, 2013 / 4:24 pm

        I figured you’d catch that. She also didn’t respond to anything else I said, including the URL to the other article that I got from you.

  2. Billy Bearden November 4, 2013 / 4:07 pm

    As of today – Nov 4th, 2013 – the MoC board voted FOR the merge, only 2 voted against.

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