Virginia community newspaper The Westmoreland News published a Ku Klux Klan recruitment flyer on its front page. Why?
The newspaper published a story about local residents receiving the KKK flyers and DVDs in mid-April. To accompany its story, the paper used the whole flyer as an image. The flyer included the contact information for the local KKK. The newspaper, whose editor is Brittlynn Powell, is based in Montross, Virginia, a little over an hour from Richmond and less than two hours from Washington, D.C.
Colonial Beach Police Chief Danny Plott was the person who provided the flyer to the paper. Plott told iMediaEthics by phone that an unknown person had distributed the “KKK propaganda” in residents’ driveways and yards, prompting people to complain and the town to issue a news release about the flyers. Then, the Westmoreland News contacted him about it, he said. The paper asked him for a copy of the flyer for background and that is how it ended up on its front page.
Plott said he “wrote a strongly worded e-mail” to the Westmoreland News‘ editor because “she never mentioned it would be put in the paper,” but that he spoke with the editor later that day and she explained her intention was to prove racism exists in the area. “It bothered me to think that children, especially children of minority or color had to read this crap,” Plott added.
iMediaEthics has written to the Westmoreland News to ask why it published the flyer in full and how many complaints it has received.
The Westmoreland News posted a disclaimer on its front page, Newsweek reported, which read:
Westmoreland News in no way condones or supports the content or message of this flyer, nor does it condone or support any branch of the Loyal White Knights, or the KKK.
Westmoreland News in Virginia ( @TheWN ) featured this #racist ad on their front page today. In 2018. In America.
This is unacceptable and should enrage every decent human. #racists #racism #WhiteSupremacy #FightRacism pic.twitter.com/vBTZ7BzThw
— Jennifer Knecht (@_jenniferknecht) April 26, 2018
Hat Tip: Steve Bien-Aime