A newspaper editor who was once praised for his “ethical” journalism has sparked outrage after penning an editorial in support of a race-hate group.
Goodloe Sutton, who edits and publishes the Arkansas Democrat-Reporter, made headlines after publishing an op-ed under the headline “Klan needs to ride again” on February 14.
The term “klan” refers to the notorious Ku Klux Klan, or KKK — an American white supremacist hate group founded in 1865 whose members famously carried out “night rides” terrorising African-Americans.
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In his rambling, often incoherent piece, the 79-year-old argued it was “time for the Ku Klux Klan to night ride again”.
“Democrats in the Republican Party and Democrats are plotting to raise taxes in Alabama,” he wrote.
“They do not understand how to eliminate expenses when money is needed in other areas. “This socialist-communist ideology sounds good to the ignorant, the uneducated, and the simple-minded people.
“People who do not understand the constitution do not like to be responsible.
“Slaves, just freed after the civil war, were not stupid. At times, they borrowed their former masters’ robes and horses and rode through the night to frighten some evil doer. Sometimes they had to kill one or two of them, but so what,” he continued.
“This is the same so what used when Democrats got us into World War I and World War II. Then they got us fighting in Korea. Next when the industrial northeast wanted more money, they got us in the Vietnam War, and now into the Middle East war.
“If you haven’t noticed, they did away with the draft so their sons would not have to go into battle.
“Seems like the Klan would be welcome to raid the gated communities up there. They call them compounds now.
“Truly, they are the ruling class.”
Photos of the editorial were shared on Twitter by outraged Americans, and it quickly went viral, with people such as Senator Doug Jones calling for Sutton’s resignation.
The Democrat-Reporter back at it again with things you’d never thought you’d see published anymore. pic.twitter.com/i5b7gKD1SC
— Mikayla Burns (@mikaylasburns) February 18, 2019
“OMG! What rock did this guy crawl out from under? This editorial is absolutely disgusting & he should resign -NOW!” Mr Jones posted on Twitter.
“I have seen what happens when we stand by while people-especially those with influence- publish racist, hateful views.
“Words matter. Actions matter. Resign now!”
However, despite the controversy, Sutton stood by his controversial words in a follow-up interview with the Montgomery Advertiser.
OMG! What rock did this guy crawl out from under? This editorial is absolutely disgusting & he should resign -NOW!
I have seen what happens when we stand by while people-especially those with influence- publish racist, hateful views.
Words matter. Actions matter. Resign now! https://t.co/V1V1vxDBKH
— Doug Jones (@DougJones) February 19, 2019
“If we could get the Klan to go up there and clean out D.C., we’d all been better off,” he told the publication.
“We’ll get the hemp ropes out, loop them over a tall limb and hang all of them.”
He argued the KKK “didn’t kill but a few people” and “wasn’t violent until they needed to be”, and told reporter Melissa Brown he wasn’t calling for the slaughter of Americans but rather “socialist communists”.
“It’s not calling for the lynchings of Americans. These are socialist communists we’re talking about. Do you know what socialism and communism is?” he said.
The scandal is a spectacular fall from grace for Sutton, who was celebrated 20 years ago in 1998 for his investigative journalism into local corruption.
At the time there were whispers he could even be up for a Pulitzer Prize. A congressional citation, which was read out loud on the floor of the House of Representatives in that year, praised Sutton’s “truly American heroism and dedication to the truth” as “one of Alabama’s finest and most ethical journalists”.
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