Submitted by a student of the Leo Frank case, correspondent M. C., edited by James Woodward.
Comments About The Fake News Media And Leo Frank’s Guilty Verdict For The Murder Of Mary Phagan:
Below is the full text of Georgia’s Augusta Chronicle “opinion editorial” piece mentioning DA Paul Howard’s “Conviction Integrity Unit” (C-I-U hereafter) and its intention to review Atlanta’s 1913-15 Frank court case, conviction and appeals. Frank’s August 25, 1913 conviction has not been set aside, overturned, revoked or nullified in the last 106 years that his impressively sized cult of personality followers have tried to subvert justice for Mary Phagan.
Frank’s 3-11-1986 pardon, seven decades after his death, at the request of ADL attorneys Dale Schwartz, Charles Wittenstein, Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, AJF (Atlanta Jewish Federation), and AJC (American Jewish Committee), did not exonerate the convicted sex-strangler, contrary to popular belief at the time. For decades, many people incorrectly believed the pardon had exculpated Frank of the Phagan rape-murder. In a 2017 article about the Leo Frank case for Salon, academic Ingrid Anderson ironically wrote in an article, What the Leo Frank Case tells us about the Danger of Fake News, that in 1982 Frank was “cleared of all charges”. It’s astonishing how numerous in the academy there are lazy activists who don’t do their due diligence before making public their unsupportable claims, or simply know the facts but intentionally commit academic fraud for a political agenda.
In summary, the editorial piece is worth reading, this article is worthy for a titillating tidbit about a long-ago editor of the Augusta Chronicle, Thomas W. Loyless, but aside from that, it’s mostly just letter-to-the-editor tripe of the politically correct type and emotional activism in favor of Leo Frank’s vindication. Sadly the anonymous author is pushing ethnic warfare, blood libeling the Gentiles of the South with insupportable claims a “rising tide” of anti-Semitism at the time, and “crazed mobs” who ultimately lynched Leo Frank. The men who hanged Frank were far from being a “crazed mob”, quite the opposite, they were some of the most prominent and well-educated men in Georgia, who were seeking justice for the dead little girl of a poverty-stricken family. Frank was executed in no frenzy or scene of tumult, but what might be best described as in a calm, clinical and orderly fashion, as eye-witness reports recorded the event and sustain how it proceeding was well-organized.
During the height of confederate times, Jewish-American lawyer Judah Benjamin’s face was on their separatist currency. Hardly a reflection of rampant or widespread anti-Semitism as other modern Leo Frank activists have pushed about the South during the era and generations prior, or thereafter. Before and after the war of the states, there was no rampant or widespread anti-Jewish sentiment at the time. We Jews enjoyed one of the highest qualities of life in the centuries of our residence in this section of the US and prospered in all manner of business. Georgia being the new South’s regional epicenter of trade, mercantilism, manufacturing, and all the other labor industry-related buzzword, Jews continue to prosper even in current events.
Chances are the Leo Frank trial and appeals will not get a fair hearing, but will be done in an air of political bullying and cronyism. Former Gov. of Georgia Roy Barnes is a consultant to district attorney Paul Howard’s C-I-U. Barnes is said in some media reports as being the impetus for the C-I-U and wanting the Leo Frank case to be the reason for its creation. Dale Schwartz was talking about a new plan to get Frank exonerated during the second rededication of the Leo Frank historical lynching plaque, in August of 2018.
Since 4-26-2019 when C-I-U was announced in a PR release, Barnes has been going around like a glib media ham promoting the hate crime hoax about so-called Antisemitic mobs of people screaming life-threatening terrorist threats at the Phagan murder trial jury. This legend that has best been described by many other students of the Leo Frank Case, as “The Leonard Dinnerstein Hoax” was first promoted in the academy by quack-scholar Dr. Dinnerstein (b. 5-1-1934, deceased in 1-22-2019) who put the hoodwink in a scholarly paper he wrote for the peer-reviewed AJAJ American Jewish Archives Journal, Nov. 1968, V.2, N. 20.
This popular anti-Semitic scam – “The Leonard Dinnerstein Hoax” – will likely be used as the pretext to exonerate Frank in 2020. Of course nowhere in Leo Frank’s state and federal appeals documentation does it mention crazed mobs of anti-Semites making loud and deadly “or else” threats at the jury, judge, etc… None of the daily news reports in the local press of Atlanta during the Frank trial prints any such claims which are being amplified today. Some of the newspapers show they were leaning pro-Frank during the trial. The Atlanta Journal and Constitution did not report Leo Frank’s admission to the jury he might have unconsciously visited the men’s toilet stall to explain why Monteen Stover discovered his office empty at the time Phagan was being raped and murdered. Outside the courthouse, the street was crawling with journalists. At the Frank trial, journalists were even given their own table flanking the jury’s bench box. There is even an image of the photojournalists standing together as they pose, published in one of the daily reports.
They really should pass some laws making the promotion of hate crime hoaxes illegal.
The other scam being pushed at present (Atlanta Magazine, July 2019) is by quack-journalist Steve Oney who is claiming there were teeth marks all over Mary Phagan. None of the autopsy reports or newspaper records on the Frank trial mention any such evidence. This scam was first introduced into the public by the self-promoting hoaxer Pierre van Paassen in 1964, on page 278 of his book “To Number Our Days”. Henceforth, Frank’s advocates have been pushing the false rumor of teeth marks on Phagan’s neck and shoulder, to trick people who don’t know anything about the Phagan rape-slaying, into believing Frank got a raw deal.
I look forward to seeing what other scams are used to make the exoneration of Leo Frank possible.
* * *
One of the most shocking court cases in Georgia’s history is getting a second look.
And somewhere, a former Augusta Chronicle editor must be smiling.
The editor is Thomas W. Loyless. We say “somewhere” because he died in 1926.
The case is the infamous Leo Frank murder case. He died in 1915. And he wasn’t supposed to.
Though the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles posthumously pardoned Frank in 1986, he never was exonerated.
That might change. Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard announced in May that an eight-member panel he assembled called the Conviction Integrity Unit will revisit the case. Former Gov. Roy Barnes, a consultant on the case, told the Marietta Daily Journal that he believes a judge could rule on the case as early as next year.
What’s Augusta’s connection to all this? To get to Augusta we’ll have to go through Atlanta first.
Frank was found guilty in Atlanta in 1913 in the murder of 13-year-old Mary Phagan, an employee at a pencil factory Frank managed. Frank was Jewish. A disgusting rising tide of anti-Semitism throughout the state, and the testimony of a janitor named Jim Conley, were huge factors in deciding Frank’s guilt.
The trial consumed newspapers’ front pages, and appeals went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. In June 1915, Georgia Gov. John Slaton commuted Frank’s death sentence to life in prison. It enraged so many Georgians that when Slaton’s term as governor ended, he and wife fled the state and didn’t return for a decade.
In August 1915, a mob abducted Frank from prison in Milledgeville and imposed its twisted sense of justice by lynching Frank from a tree just east of Marietta.
At the time of the lynching, Chronicle editor Loyless was on a business trip in New York. When word reached him about Frank’s death at the hands of a crazed mob, he wired an editorial to The Chronicle that couldn’t be more clear about the damage wrought by this sick act:
“There can be but one answer to this latest assault upon the authority and integrity of Georgia. The decency and civilization of our state must, at last, assert itself, or else pull up stakes and quit. It is a straight-out issue between law and anarchy; let Georgians choose for themselves.
“This climax was inevitable as we permit incendiary publications to set Georgia aflame. Tom Watson has cost Georgia more than 10,000 good and true men can rebuild in 20 years.”
The “incendiary publications” Loyless referred to were edited by politician Thomas E. Watson. His publications The Jeffersonian and Watson’s Magazine brazenly convicted Frank in print and howled for his execution. We won’t even quote his comments directly. Watson’s bigotry is just that nauseating.
But sometimes a newspaper has to stand against the tide of public opinion to fight for what’s right. No other editor in Georgia – perhaps no other editor in the United States – thundered more loudly than Augusta’s Loyless in his cries to bring Leo Frank’s lynch mob to justice:
“Perhaps in time, we shall be able to wipe out the stain of this horror…. But the crime against the individual is of less importance and consequence than the crime committed against the state and against civilization.”
Loyless’ sincere defense of justice even spurred Frank’s wife, Lucille, to write a letter to The Chronicle publicly thanking the paper for its fair coverage.
The case remained a sore spot with Loyless for a long time afterward. In December 1915, when rival Augusta Herald editor Bowdre Phinizy jokingly greeted Loyless with “Hello, Tom Watson,” Loyless drew a revolver and pulled the trigger point-blank against Phinizy’s stomach. All that saved Phinizy’s life was that the gun’s hammer fell on an empty chamber.
In coming months we envision another chamber will be full – a court chamber, crowded with people eager to hear the new examination of an old case. Leo Frank will get a fairer examination in 2019 that circumstances denied him in 1913.
We hope it provides an appropriate end to a century-old saga that Augusta’s Tom Loyless never could put to rest.