If you rely solely on the BBC for your news, you could be forgiven for understanding that the civil disturbances rocking the southern US were protests by pro-Trump white supremacists against something unspecified. With a headline 'Charlottesville: Virginia governor tells white supremacists: 'Go home'', you need to read down past the emotive picture to the tenth paragraph to get a clue as to what the protests are about. To get an idea of just how distorted the BBC's coverage is, try the story in the New York Times 'White Nationalists Wield Torches at Confederate Statue Rally'
It's not just Virginia. In New Orleans the white Mayor is overseeing the removal of Confederate statues which, it is alleged, promote white supremacism. There can be no excusing the vile treatment of black people in the southern states, from the lynchings and corrupt disenfranchisements to segregated buses and the evils still prevalent during my youth. But one needs to understand that not everyone with some regard for the losing side in America's divisive civil war is a racist white supremacist, and not everyone who thinks that book burning and statue destruction are wrong is a violent nationalist.
The figures of one notorious white slave-owner seem safe for now; no one is tearing down statues of George Washington. Yet.
General Robert E Lee was greatly loved by his men, even in defeat. One needs to understand the place he still holds in the respect and affections of many southerners to begin to understand the complex emotions invoked in tearing down his statue in Virginia. All of which is of no interest to the BBC, who have just used the story in their agitprop war against those who disagree with their own values and worldview.
But those of my age will recall a different BBC screening the Dukes of Hazzard, a comedy programme about, as the BBC would explain now, white supremacists. Only they weren't, of course. It was also about their car, General Lee. It was rubbish, but objectively more accurate than the BBC news you are reading today.