Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Abraham Lincoln Enloe, Part 2

Kentucky Cabin

A strange set of principles govern the news business. Take, for instance, the marvels of modern aviation. Thousands of airplanes will land today at airports all around the country. Aside from a little jet lag, travelers will arrive safely at their destinations. But those stories won't make the nightly news. However, if, God forbid, one of those planes happened to crash, the story would make headlines on the internet, television, and in tomorrow's paper. "News" is often a collection of unusual stories.

For the past several weeks, reporters have been drawn to the story of Abraham Lincoln's birthplace. Of course, the traditional story is well-known. The future president was born in a humble one-room Kentucky cabin to Nancy Hanks and her husband, Thomas Lincoln. However, that is not the sort of story that makes the paper. Remember, a dog bite is not news, but the man or woman who gets on all fours and takes a bite out of a dog deserves to be interviewed.

The recent Lincoln headlines tell an unconventional story:

"Lincoln's Birth Site Disputed," Fort Wayne News-Sentinel

"Group Says N. C. is Lincoln Birthplace," Lexington Herald-Leader

"North Carolina Dares to Rewrite Lincoln Story," The Indianapolis Star

All of the stories are reprints of the original Associated Press story regarding the new Bostic Lincoln Center in North Carolina, which claims everything you thought you knew about Lincoln's birth is wrong. You may recall, I reported on this story a few months ago and weighed-in on their many dubious conclusions.

However, the recent story adds an interesting twist to the tale. The folks who believe Lincoln was born in North Carolina also believe that Abraham Enloe, not Thomas Lincoln, fathered the future president. Therefore, according to the AP, these folks are now "petitioning the federal government to run a DNA test of Lincoln's father, Thomas, to see if it matches some of the 16th president's saved genetic material."

While their request begs a number of intriguing legal and ethical questions, I doubt the folks in North Carolina will indeed “rewrite the Lincoln story.” However, one thing is certain: their efforts will continue to make headlines.

No comments: