The Boston Globe recently published an article with the headline, “Ethnicity not a factor in Elizabeth Warren’s rise in law,” written by the paper’s Chief National Correspondent Annie Linskey. It was obviously intended to refute the widely believed accusations that Senator Elizabeth Warren had invented a Native American ancestor in her genealogy to enhance both her legal and academic careers.
While the article may have satisfied Warren supporters, it left a lot of question unresolved. In fact, it may have offered more support for the accusations than previously known. But, before we get to that, the entire article once again raised questions of media bias.
The first question came from Michael Smerconish when Linskey appeared on his morning show. The host asked if the reporter thought Warren was trying to put the issue to rest before a planned bid for the Democrat presidential nomination in 2020. (The Republicans should be so lucky). In answer to the question, “Is that what you were thinking when you were doing all the research?” The reporter said “Yes, that is exactly what I was thinking.” In other words, the entire article was understood by the Boston Globe and their reporter to be an effort to help Warren’s political ambitions.
Linskey, in bragging about the depth of her research, said that she had reviewed Warren’s personnel files with various employers. That is not possible unless Warren gave permission. In that case, Warren and the Boston Globe were … COLLUDING … to shape the story. It must be nice for a politician to be able to go to a compliant publication and say, “Hey, I need you to write this story from this angle and I will help you craft it.”
According to Linskey, there was nothing in the early record to suggest that Warren was hired because of her alleged Native American background. In one application, she designated herself as “white.” Well, duh! The issue was never about her dominant ethnicity.
In an application to the University of Houston, Warren checked “other.” I would have to say that having followed her career, I would definitely accept her as being an “other” – maybe even one of those extra-terrestrials I hear about on cable television. What else could it be? But, I digress.
Since that section in the application inexplicably did not offer the “white” or “Native American” option Warren would be an “other” in either case. However, there is the devil in the details.
That section – according to the small print on the application to which attention was not drawn – seemed to be referring to all non-white minority categories to be designated for “compliance” purposes. I had to download the interview to be able to focus on that bit of information.
The fact that Warren checked off any box in a section seemingly addressing minority status, especially with no Native American designation, could mean she was thinking of herself as Native American. Any officially recognized minority status provides benefits with regard to diversity compliance.
While that application can be interpreted either way, all should be able to agree that it does not provide a definitive answer. It is not easy to determine “all white.” I know, because this author did the DNA thing and discovered I am one percent Nigerian. Have I been wrong to check the “white” box all these years?
Interestingly, shortly after being hired by University of Pennsylvania Law School, Warren changed her ethnicity to include Native American. It seems that is when she officially and suddenly came out as a documented Native American. Although, it is very possible that she told previous potential employers of her ancestry even if it did not appear on the applications. What was missing in the report were any documents that the law firms submitted to the government to establish company diversity. Was Warren counted as a minority?
And, why would she change her designation after already having the job at the University of Pennsylvania? To offer one explanation, I must relate my experience at Sears, Roebuck and Co. One of my co-workers in the Public Relations Department was a black woman with a Hispanic name. I recall the vice president proudly proclaiming that he loved her because she was a three-fer. When he had to submit the obligatory government diversity report, that lady was a woman, black and Hispanic. Check off three boxes. Yes, we had more ethnicity than we had people. When the University brags about their diversity, Warren’s change made her a potential two-fer. If Warren does not have any Native American blood, this may be an example of her using that designation fraudulently for personal benefit.
While at Penn, Warren used her Native American designation in numerous publications and listings. In the listing of faculty, her name was presented in boldface type to designate ethnic minority status. It was not used to refer to women. She and the University clearly saw it as a means of enhancing her prestige in the liberal academic community – and that of the University as a diverse institution.
It is what is NOT reported that may question the entire foundation of the Boston Globe piece. Warren has never agreed to do one of those DNA tests to settle the issue. One might have expected Linskey to ask about that – or maybe the newspaper should have required a DNA test to establish the legitimacy of an otherwise political puff piece. But then again, this was a campaign gift for Warren.
The Linskey article, for whatever its purpose, did not lay to rest the controversy surrounding Warren’s claim. What we can say for sure is that Warren did put Native American ancestry on official forms. We can say that she often bragged about that ancestry – publicly and privately. She obviously thought it would enhance her prestige. She has publicly stated that her Native American ancestry came down through a grandmother. But she never has provided any evidence beyond her contention. We also know that she has so far refused to take a DNA test that would settle the issue.
As the Smerconish interview closed off, Linskey betrayed the worst of the contemptible arrogance of the left-wing east coast media cabal. She said she hoped her story would make a difference in clearing up Warren’s biography. Linskey said that Warren has an “incredible” story. To underscore what Linskey sees as an amazing achievement, she notes that Warren got her undergraduate degree from the University of Houston which she says is “not exactly one of the nation’s best universities. It just is not.” Linskey goes on to say that Warren “winds up as a law professor at Harvard” – with great emphasis on “Harvard.”
Both in purpose and content, the Linskey article does not pass the smell test. It does not settle the issue. Only Warren can do that with a DNA test and it is legitimate to ask why she seems to avoid the only case-closing option.
Until then, I would advise President Trump to cease and desist from calling Warren “Pocahontas.” He should apologize to Native Americans in this manner. “I hereby apologize to the great Native American community for calling Senator Elizabeth Warren ‘Pocahontas.’ She is not really a ‘Pocahontas.’ She is not one of you. So, henceforth, I will refer to her only as ‘phony Pocahontas.’”
Larry Horist is a conservative activist with an extensive background in economics, public policy and politics. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman, as well as the White House. He has testified as an expert witness before legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress, and lectured at major colleges and universities. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.