During the 2012 Senate campaign between Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren, I learned early on that The Boston Globe had Warren’s back, and used its full political sway to promote and defend her, particularly on Warren’s false claim to be Native American for employment purposes while climbing the law professor ladder to Harvard Law School.

When The Boston Herald first exposed that Harvard touted Warren as its first Native American tenured hire, the Globe published a story that Warren was 1/32nd Cherokee, Document ties Warren kin to Cherokees:

A record unearthed Monday shows that US Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren has a great-great-great grandmother listed in an 1894 document as a Cherokee, said a genealogist at the New England Historic and Genealogy Society.

The shred of evidence could validate her assertion that she has Native American ancestry, making her 1/32 American Indian, but may not put an end to the questions swirling around the subject.

The claim was quickly debunked, as the Boston-area genealogist to whom the claim was attributed denied having any evidence to support the claim. When the Globe ran its correction, it was buried deep in the paper, as I wrote on May 15, 2012, Boston Globe buries correction of Elizabeth Warren 1/32 Cherokee claim:

As you know, that Boston Globe story created a legend which lives on in the media despite having been thoroughly and repeatedly debunked at every level, and one from which even NEHGS has walked away.

The Globe finally gets around to correcting the story, but buries it in the “For the Record” correction section today:

Correction: Because of a reporting error, a story in the May 1 Metro section and the accompanying headline incorrectly described the 1894 document that was purported to list Elizabeth Warren’s great-great-great grandmother as a Cherokee. The document, alluded to in a family newsletter found by the New England Historic Genealogical Society, was an application for a marriage license,  not the license itself. Neither the society nor the Globe has seen the primary document, whose existence has not been proven.

(Note:  The correction references an article on May 1 which repeated the story; the correction now is appended at the end of the original online version.)

That’s it?  After all the trouble The Globe caused, necessitating countless hours by lowly bloggers to correct the falsehood.

The Globe and the false report of a 1/32 Cherokee connection may have saved Warren’s campaign, as it came at a time when her campaign was in panic and without any evidence to substantiate her claim to Native American ancestry, which she used when a junior faculty member in a law school association directory to obtain “minority law teacher” status.

Yet to this day I frequently see discussion about Warren, even critical discussion, assuming she is 1/32nd Cherokee. In that one false meme, the Globe provided the uncertainty Warren needed to help ride out the storm.

The Globe helped bail out Warren again by running a deep investigative piece prepared with the assistance of the Warren campaign, again arguing that there was uncertainty as to Warren’s heritage and family lore. The Warren campaign made family and friends available to the Globe reporters, yet the story included only the barest and most superficial support for Warren being Native American. I analyzed the Globe post in detail at the time, Boston Globe unintentionally proves Elizabeth Warren’s ethnic fraud:

The Boston Globe ran a massive 3,000 word lead article this morning trying to excuse away Elizabeth Warren’s claim during her professional career to be minority and a woman of color based on supposed Native American ancestry.

The story, which had the cooperation of the Warren campaign, comes just days before the first debate in Massachusetts’ Senate race.  Clearly, the Warren campaign is worried after even Native Americans who are Democrats criticized Warren at the DNC in Charlotte, and is attempting to put its story out there through a friendly source.

The article is a masterpiece of distraction, weaving stories from people completely unrelated to Warren as to their own experiences with Native America family lore or growing up as Native American in the 1950’s and 1960’s with bits and pieces of Warren’s story.  The end result is an attempt to paint Warren as a victim of circumstance and the times she grew up in, as a means of explaining away the many inconsistencies in her story.

Yet when one digs down into the actual facts in the Globe story, it actually is quite devastating to Warren, proving that contrary to her many recent accounts, Native American ancestry was not central to her life at any time prior to the mid-1980s when she claimed “Minority Law Teacher” status in a national law faculty directory.

I examined seven aspects of the Globe story, under the following subheadings each of which contained detailed analysis. Perhaps most demonstrative of the deception is that the family line Warren claimed to have Native American ancestry in the Globe article was a different family line than originally claimed:

1.  Warren’s claim now is focused on a different family line than originally claimed.

When the story broke that Warren might be 1/32 Cherokee, it was based on supposed ancestry on Warren’s maternal grandmother’s side, the so-called Crawford line.  That 1/32 claim was completely debunked, and the Globe had to issue a retraction, although Warren being 1/32 Cherokee lives on in pop culture.

The Globe focuses its examination on the maternal grandfather’s lineage, the so-called Reed line, and it is that family line which appears in the story to be the focus of Warren’s campaign.

Warren’s story has switched sides.  Now it’s supposedly the Reed line which had the strong Native American connection.

Yet in its 3,000 words, the Globe never notes this switch, although to its credit the Globe did note that Warren’s family can’t keep its own story straight:

Warren said she was informed by others in the family that her mother’s mother “was a little bit Delaware, and her father was more Cherokee.” Told that her brother recalled the opposite, she added, “It might have been the other way around.” Her grandmother, she added, “always talked about PawPaw being a lot more Indian.”

The main thrust of the Globe article was that Warren’s lack of proof of Native American Ancestry was actually proof that she was Native American.

3.  Lack of proof becomes proof.

Much of the Globe article is devoted to proving that not all Native Americans can document their ancestry, so lack of proof doesn’t mean much.

I won’t bore you with all the stories from people unrelated to Warren recited in the Globe article.  But this is the heart of Warren’s defense on whether she actually has Native American ancestry, that because some real Native Americans can’t prove their ancestry, Warren not being able to prove her ancestry is proof she’s Native American.

Think about that.  The complete absence of any documentary evidence that Warren has Native American ancestry becomes the proof for Warren having Native American ancestry.

Even with the help of the Warren campaign, the Globe could only find one person from her childhood who remembered Warren claiming to be Native American, and it was an almost comical example of a conversation in a convertible.

5.  Warren grossly exaggerated her family lore.

Here is where the Globe works really hard to obfuscate, but ultimately reveals facts demonstrating what I always have believed about Warren, that there were rumors (her nephew’s word) and some family stories, but that Warren grossly exaggerated those rumors and stories when it suited her professional purposes later in her career.

Here are some excerpts from the story:

Warren’s extended family has mixed opinions on the Native American question. The stories shared by Mapes, as well as Warren’s brothers and a number of her cousins, echo Warren’s assertion. But other cousins, some of whom also do not know Warren, say they know nothing of Native American blood in the family. According to one family biography, on file at the California State University at Fullerton, one of Warren’s relatives once shot at an Indian….

The Globe does note that virtually none of her childhood classmates recalls her being Native American:

Forty years later, when the subject of Warren’s heritage erupted on the national airwaves, some of her former classmates smirked to hear her say that Native American blood was central to her identity. Few of them, certainly, had ever heard anything of it.

The Globe does quote one classmate, who presumably was identified to the Globe by Warren or her campaign, as follows (emphasis mine):

While Warren did not talk to many classmates about her heritage, she loosened up with her friend Katrina Cochran.

As the two drove in Warren’s white MG to the Charcoal Oven drive-in for lunch in their senior year, they would sometimes have a mock debate about who was more “Indian.”

She talked about her grandmother being a Cherokee, and I talked about how my aunt by marriage was a Choctaw,” said Cochran, an Oklahoma psychologist. “I was making a totally illogical argument, saying I was just as Indian as she was. It was ridiculous because she had the blood and I did not, but it made us laugh.”

When pressed to discuss conversations she may have had with classmates who had similar stories, Warren declined to elaborate. “It was a different time,” she said.

Note again the highlighted wording, back then Warren was claiming Cherokee lineage on her maternal grandmother’s side, now it’s supposed Delaware ancestry on her maternal grandfather’s side.

Getting back to classmates, the Globe could have noted that one such classmate who had no idea Warren claimed Native American ancestry was her debate partner, who has said he was “joined at the hip” with Warren for three years.  Yet we are supposed to believe that because of the times Warren kept her ancestry a secret from everyone, yet it was so fundamental a part of who she was?  This strains credulity.

You can read that rest of my post analyzing the Globe story to understand that just as with the claim that Warren was 1/32nd Cherokee, the Globe didn’t seek to prove Warren has Native American ancestry, it simply sought to sow doubts and leave open the possibility. That uncertainty was all Warren needed in the campaign to turn the argument against Scott Brown and her critics by claiming they were attacking her family.

Given that experience of the Globe covering and obfuscating for Warren, it’s no surprise to me that the Globe is helping rebrand Warren in advance of an expected 2020 run for president (her re-election to the Senate in 2018 is presumed).

Rather than focusing on Warren’s supposedly deep Native American roots, the Globe is focusing on Warren’s christianity. The article is titled Religion is constant part of Elizabeth Warren’s life., but on Twitter, The Globe was even more direct:

“Elizabeth Warren’s Christian faith is deep and authentic, and it informs her work as a senator”


The Globe article on Warren’s “deep” religious faith reminds me of the 2012 Globe article on Warren’s deep Native American heritage – making much out of very little, acknowledging the problems with the narrative yet spinning the narrative. Here’s an excerpt from the article

… Warren is well known for her acrid take on Wall Street money power, on the Trump presidency, and on all the forces in American life that, in her view, deny equal opportunity to all. Much less well known is Warren’s relationship with God.

The senator’s personal religious views are part of her life that few if any of her supporters or detractors think of when they contemplate the Massachusetts lawmaker, who has built a national reputation on the strength of her populism and is on many political observers’ short list of likely 2020 White House contenders.

But religious leaders who have known her since her first run for public office say her Christian faith is a constant, if quiet, presence in her life, that it is deep and authentic, and informs her work as a senator….

Warren’s religious background is a minor theme in the two political books she published since taking office. She was raised Methodist in a conservative Oklahoma town, and writes about taking her children to church most Sundays and teaching Sunday school during her years as a young law professor in Texas. She recounted using the Socratic method to teach her fifth-graders their Bible lessons.

Back in Boston, Warren, who declined to be interviewed for this story, doesn’t have a home church she regularly attends, but she frequently visits a variety of houses of worship — including many African-American churches — around the state, particularly in Boston, according to local religious leaders and aides.

Get that? There is little historical evidence of Warrens’ “deep” religious faith, other than in a political context. The Globe cites examples of Warren’s quiet, unpublicized faith, which of course the Globe publicizes for her:

Warren greeted congregants during a service at the Columbus Avenue African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in February.

Most recently, she visited Jubilee Christian Church in Mattapan on the first Sunday in August. The visits are almost never publicized.

She carries her own Bible with her, pastors say, a well-worn King James version she has had since the fourth grade.

“We sort of consider her a member,” said the Rev. Jeffrey Brown, an associate pastor at Twelfth Baptist Church in Roxbury, because she has been there so many times.

Warren displayed her familiarity with the Bible during her Aug. 28 appearance at Ebenezer Baptist Church. She was there as part of the King Center’s “Beloved Community Talks,” and her roughly 30-minute conversation with Bernice King, the civil rights leader’s youngest daughter, quickly turned from her trademark political themes to faith.

When King asked about the ability of the country to bridge its vast partisan divides, Warren responded with a parable Jesus told of God dividing people into two groups, as a shepherd divides his flock into sheep and goats. The sheep are going to heaven because they fed the hungry, ministered to the sick.

Then she continued with her reflection about the presence and power of “Jesus in every one of us.”

Jesus is calling people to act, Warren continued, “to get up and make a difference. . . . I think that’s the place where we start this conversation.” …

Culpepper, the pastor of Pleasant Hill Baptist, said he’s not surprised Warren doesn’t discuss her faith more publicly. “Many Christians don’t wear their Christianity on their sleeve, but they do live their Christian life.’’

Why this sudden focus on Warren’s Christianity?

I consider it the start of the Warren rebranding for 2020. While a lot of potential Democrat candidate names are mentioned, Warren is at the top. A NY Times article yesterday about Democrat contenders focuses, not surprisingly, on Warren in the featured image:


Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, whose populist rhetoric has attracted a grass-roots activist and donor base that overlaps with Mr. Sanders’s, has said that the party should avoid a temptation to moderate its views, and that its candidates should not “grovel on Wall Street” to raise money.

Ms. Warren has built a formidable online fund-raising operation, which has brought in $5.1 million this year for her 2018 re-election campaign and allowed her political action committee to donate $270,000 to other Democrats. Yet she also has joined a parade of would-be Democratic presidential contenders who have paid visits to the wealthy summer enclaves that serve as A.T.M.s for the party’s candidates.

“I think Elizabeth is laying the groundwork for a run. She won’t admit it, but it looks like that,” said Guy Saperstein, a San Francisco lawyer and part owner of the Oakland Athletics. Mr. Saperstein, who tried to coax Ms. Warren into the 2016 presidential race with an offer of a $1 million super PAC contribution, met with her in June in San Francisco.

“Why would she be out in California if she wasn’t interested in running for president?” Mr. Saperstein said. “I mean, she says she’s raising money for her re-election, but she won’t have any problems with that.”

Running hard left will help Warren win the primary, but will hurt in the general election. She’s going to have to appeal to those God-fearing Christians Democrats have long mocked as bitter clingers and deplorables.

Enter Elizabeth Warren’s deep Christian faith narrative. And it can’t come soon enough.

As I’ve written, Trump has done a masterful job at branding Warren, Trump branding of Elizabeth Warren as Fake Indian continues, expecting her to run in 2020:

When Newt Gingrich spoke at Cornell earlier this semester, he made a very important point.

Trump doesn’t attack his political opponents, he brands them. The brand for Jeb was “low energy.” For Rubio, it was “little Marco.” For Cruz, it was “lyin’ Ted.” Once branded, they could not shake the image.

Just ask “Crooked Hillary.”

Which brings up Elizabeth Warren. As we posted earlier, while Warren is denying that she “is” running for president in 2020, she’s making all the normal pre-presidential run moves.

She’s raised her profile as the face of “the resistance,” a face Republicans also are jockeying to put out front.

Speaking at the NRA today, Trump warned that members should expect “Pocahontas” to run….

Trump is branding her. And being someone who was a fake Indian is her brand. She’ll never shake it.

Call me cynical, but I see in the Globe’s focus on Warren’s Christianity what I saw in 2012 – narrative building and distraction. Why is mean Donald Trump (and other Republicans) besmirching this church-going deeply-faithful Christian woman?

Expect more of it, a lot more of it, as Warren wins in 2018 and quickly becomes the presumptive 2020 frontrunner.

[Featured Image: Elizabeth Warren at Logan Airport Protest against Trump Executive Order]


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