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Editorial rant gives state black eye

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By Mike Wilcox
Publisher
My chosen profession has been subject to mountains of criticism over the past few years. To my chagrin, journalism among the media elite has taken a new meaning — activism — versus what I was taught, to leave your opinions at home unless you are an editorial writer.
But mainstream media fueled by the success of The Washington Post and New York Times, find it kosher to bash President Trump and his followers at every opportunity.
The opportunities are available on the other side as well. One Alabama publisher, Goodloe Sutton, hasn’t held back in his weekly editorials calling for “draining of the swamp.”
For some reason I am on his subscription list. Each Friday I grab his small newspaper, The Democrat-Reporter, out of my postal box, lay it on my desk and scan the subject matter. His editorial is always interesting, because he never holds back on his criticisms of liberals and the swamp people in Washington, D.C.
One of his over-the-top rants a few weeks ago was picked up by the national news media and cable television. It cost Goodloe his job and editorial writing pen. Here’s what he had to say:

“Klan needs to ride again
“Time for the Ku Klux Klan to night ride again. Democrats in the Republican Party and Democrats are plotting to raise taxes in Alabama … This socialist-communist ideology sounds good to the ignorant, the uneducated and the simple-minded people.
“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 …
“Seems like the Klan would be welcome to raid the gated communities up there (north). They call them compounds now. Truly, they are the ruling class.”
As with many of Goodloe’s editorials, this one didn’t make much sense. But the mainstream media saw the headline and went with wholesale condemnation. I can’t argue. Any time you conjure up images of the Klan in white robes and pointed hats, riding through the night, you are and should be reprimanded.
Sutton was. The Alabama Press Association asked him to step down. He did just that, hiring an African-American Auburn-educated woman to take over the reigns of the newspaper.
It is not known if he sold the newspaper (he had been trying to sell it for years) or just found someone to take over, but at least for now Goodloe’s pen will see no more newsprint.
The press association and most if not all state politicians condemned the editorial. They rightfully saw it as a depiction of the Alabama of old, when the state was considered backward and racist.
As editor and publisher of a state weekly newspaper slightly larger than Goodloe’s, that is not the Alabama I know. It is far more progressive than many rural Michigan communities. Racial harmony is not just a phrase, it actually exists. The Klan, segregation and racial injustices are afterthoughts these days.
Alabama deserves better than Goodloe Sutton’s crazy rants.