A group of nooses discovered hanging off trees near the Mississippi state Capitol were not a warning from a white supremacist group, but rather a "protest" by leftists against Mississippi Republican Senate candidate Cindy Hyde-Smith.
Mainstream media organizations melted down on Monday after a number of nooses were found hanging in the vicinity of the capitol building, strung from trees as part of a "message" campaign — though the Associated Press, which first reported the story, didn't give much more information about the "message" the nooses were trying to send, only that it was one of "hate."
"Chuck McIntosh, a spokesman for the Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration, which oversees the Capitol, says the nooses and signs were found Monday morning shortly before 8 a.m. on the south side of the Capitol grounds," the AP reported, adding, "He says the matter is under investigation, and he did not immediately know what was on the signs."
Local news reported photos of the nooses, and, again, avoided printing the "messages" that were written on signs left near the ropes.
Leftists on Twitter knew immediately who was behind the horrific display: white supremacists who support Sen. Hyde-Smith in her runoff election against Democrat Mike Espy.
Nooses were found just before a runoff election to determine whether a black man will hold a Senate seat in Mississippi. https://t.co/vFHFJm4AQw— HuffPost Politics (@HuffPostPol) November 26, 2018
We are better than this!— Donna Brazile (@donnabrazile) November 27, 2018
Seven nooses, signs found at Mississippi State Capitol https://t.co/nrv5Zh85ZO
Looks like Cindy put up some last minute campaign signs... https://t.co/rLWLzuWCND— Walter M. Kimbrough (@HipHopPrez) November 26, 2018
The state's governor, Phil Bryant, made a clear statement condemning the display, saying that "[t]he perpetrators of this act will be identified and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I have contacted the Department of Public Safety and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for assistance.”
Espy, for his part, was asked Monday night if he blamed Hyde-Smith for the nooses and said that he "can’t connect that to her. I wouldn’t do that. That’d be unfair.”
It turns out it would have been very unfair. Signs placed near the nooses but reported only as "hate" messages by the Associated Press and others, had plenty of information about who hung the nooses and why. But weirdly, the signs didn't appear on anyone's Twitter feed until late Monday evening, nearly 12 hours after news of the display went viral.
The signs indicated that the nooses were part of a protest by Democrats, warning against re-electing Hyde-Smith.
"We're hanging nooses to remind people that times haven't changed," read one sign.
"We need someone who respects the lives of lynch victims," read another.
The signs refer to comments Hyde-Smith made some time ago, at a campaign stop in Tupelo, Mississippi. The New York Post reports that Hyde-Smith referred to one campaign stop attendee as a personal friend and said she'd show up to any event he invited her to, including a public hanging.
“If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row,” Hyde-Smith quipped.
The incident was captured on video, and although Hyde-Smith said the comment was an "exaggerated expression of regard," Democrats took Hyde-Smith's "compliment" as evidence that she holds outdated views on racial issues and a lack of respect for Mississippi's historical victims of lynching.
Mississippians will vote Tuesday on whether to send Hyde-Smith back to the Senate.