“The Klavaliers Ride to a Fall” by Stetson Kennedy

Stetson Kennedy’s article, “The Klavaliers Ride to a Fall”, began with an intriguing lede. He used a conversation between Klan members, that discussed their plan to take the law into their own hands.  Kennedy was successful in this lede, because he gave the reader part of a conversation, and didn’t tell what the klans plans were.  Readers would certainly want to read this article because it had inside information on the Klan, and that is something that interest people.  Most people read stories about the klan from outsiders, not insiders.

Since Kennedy was undercover with the klan, his quotes are conversations between the klan members.  These quotes should be reliable since they are things he was hearing and seeing.  The problem being that he was probably writing these quotes after the fact, and they weren’t exactly word for word.  He probably wasn’t able to record what the klan was saying, because if he did, he would have been killed. He was unable to question the klan, because obviously they didn’t know he was a reporter.

Stetson Kennedy’s article, “The Kavaliers Ride to a Fall”, was very similar to Nellie Bly’s article, “Choking and Beating the Patients”.  They were both from the first person point of view and reporting undercover.  The problem with both of these things, was that the articles read more like a story and not hard news coverage.  I do believe that Kennedy’s article revealed things about the klan that people needed to see and his only way of doing that was to be undercover.  I will say that his article was much more interesting than George Seldes on tobacco.  Seldes was filled with hard facts and percentages, and lacked emotion. Towards the end of Kennedy’s article, the reader would become emotionally involved and empathetic towards Kennedy and James Martin.

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