LINDEN, AL – In a recent editorial in the Democrat-Reporter newspaper in Linden, Alabama, the paper’s editor, Goodloe Sutton, called for “the Ku Klux Klan to night ride again.” The Feb. 14 editorial was discovered and brought to light by a reporter with the Montgomery Advertiser Monday.
Montgomery Advertiser reporter Melissa Brown interviewed Suttonto confirm his statements, and Sutton doubled down on his editorial, saying, “We’ll get the hemp ropes out, loop them over a tall limb and hang all of them.”
Sutton wrote, “Democrats in the Republican Party and Democrats are plotting to raise taxes in Alabama. 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.”
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Sutton, who has worked at the paper since 1964, inherited the publication from his father. Sutton and the newspaper received national acclaim in the 1990s for their reporting on a corrupt local sheriff.
The fallout of the editorial has come swiftly. In 2007, Sutton was inducted into the University of Southern Mississippi’s School of Communication Hall of Fame for the couple’s anti-corruption articles and editorials. After the Advertiser reported on Sutton’s recent editorial and comments, the university removed him from the Hall of Fame.
“Within the last few hours, the School of Communication at the University of Southern Mississippi learned of Mr. Goodloe Sutton’s call for violence and the return of the Ku Klux Klan,” a USM release stated. “Mr. Sutton’s subsequent rebuttals and attempts at clarification only reaffirm the misguided and dangerous nature of his comments. The School of Communication strongly condemns Mr. Sutton’s remarks as they are antithetical to all that we value as scholars of journalism, the media, and human communication. Our University’s values of social responsibility and citizenship, inclusion and diversity, and integrity and civility are the foundation upon which we have built our School and its programs.”
The recent editorial is not the first time the paper has expressed racist views. In 2015, the paper ran a headline titled: “Selma black thugs murder Demopolite Saturday night.”
The Advertiser contacted the Alabama Press Association, the state trade association for newspapers in the state, to inquire whether or not Sutton and the Democrat-Reporter were members.
“We do not agree with the opinion,” said Felicia Mason, APA executive director. “However, APA is not a policing agency. We simply have no authority over what our member newspapers publish.”
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