It’s time for the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) to “night ride again,” read an editorial in the Democrat-Reporter, a newspaper serving the community of Linden, Ala. last week.
Goodloe Sutton, the Democrat-Reporter’s editor and publisher, admitted to the Montgomery Advertiser that he wrote it himself. Then he doubled down.
“If we could get the Klan to go up there and clean out D.C., we’d all been better off,” he said.
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In the editorial, Sutton wrote that “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 idealogy [sic] sounds good to the ignorant, the uneducated, and the simple-minded people,” it added.
The editorial went on to blame Democrats for bringing the United States 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,” it said.
“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.”
Speaking to the Montgomery Advertiser, Sutton explained his “clean out D.C.” remark by saying he meant lynching.
“We’ll get the hemp ropes out, loop them over a tall limb and hang all of them,” he said.
Sutton clarified that the editorial wasn’t calling for the lynchings of “Americans.”
“These are socialist-communist we’re talking about,” he said. “Do you know what socialism and communism is?”
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The KKK formed after the Civil War to intimidate black people in the South, and were responsible for bombings including one that killed four girls at the 16 Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala. in 1963, as recounted by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The Advertiser asked Sutton if he recognized the Klan as a racist organization. He didn’t think so — he likened them to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
“A violent organization? Well, they didn’t kill but a few people,” Sutton told the Advertiser.
The editorial drew fierce criticism from Alabama politicians including Terri Sewell, the Democratic Congresswoman for the state’s 7th district, which includes Linden:
Alabama Sen. Doug Jones also chimed in:
The editorial wasn’t the Democrat-Reporter‘s first to cause controversy.
In October, an editorial addressed the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and allegations by Christine Blasey Ford that he had assaulted her in high school — allegations that Kavanaugh denied.
“If enough people said it, it must be true that Brett Kavanaugh assaulted the tramp named Ford,” the editorial said.
Meanwhile, in September, another editorial addressed a much-criticized cartoon depiction of tennis star Serena Williams.
“It seems not to matter what the facts are, if you disagree with a five per cent or more descendancy of a slave, you racist,” it said.
“We see scores and scores of cartoons depicting the honky president we have now.”
Speaking to the New York Times, former Democrat-Reporter staffer Jami Huckabee said she thought Sutton was writing racist articles in order to keep up interest in the paper.
“This is how he sells papers now, because everybody’s boycotted him for various reasons,” she said.
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