As a direct result of this website’s efforts, MSNBC is now reporting on the third instance of Lott remarking that Thurmond should have been elected in 1948. The clearly audible comment is made off-camera as Thurmond signs the bill. They’re running the story at the top of every half hour; it may also be on the NBC evening news tonight and in a major daily tomorrow morning. Updates to follow as I have them.

Update 1: From MSNBC’s press release:

SECAUCUS, NJ- Dec, 17, 2002- MSNBC has uncovered a third instance of Sen. Trent Lott saying Sen. Thurmond “should have been President” in 1948, when he ran for President on a segregationist platform. In the video obtained by MSNBC, Sen. Lott is emceeing the signing of the National Defense Authorization Act on Oct. 19, 2000. As Sen. Thurmond signs the bill, Sen. Lott can be heard saying, “Now this is a famous signature right here. He should have been President in 1947 (sic), I think it was.” MSNBC contacted Sen. Lott’s press secretary, Ron Bonjean, who did not deny that Lott made the comments at the event. Bonjean insists that the fact Lott made the statement at the signing of the defense act makes their case that this is not about race and that it has nothing to do with race. Bonjean told MSNBC it proves that Lott meant Thurmond would have been tougher on defense, fighting Communism and best for the economy.

Update 2: made the NBC Evening News.

Update 3: Fox News has picked it up as well.

Update 4: here’s the story on MSNBC’s website (scroll down). It is also referenced in the Lott stories in this morning’s Washington Post and New York Times. I am told it made ABC World News Tonight and the wire stories as well.