If you’re the type of person who decides a newspaper’s endorsement warrants picking up the phone or waking up the computer to construct a death threat to send to the editors and owners publication, then you should examine your priorities.
The Arizona Republic has never endorsed a Democrat for President in its 125+ year existence. That changed this year. Mi-Ai Parrish, president of Republic Media that includes The Arizona Republic, wrote the following in the wake of the death threats they received after endorsing Hillary Clinton for President:
We made our choice soberly. We knew it would be unpopular with many people. We knew that, although we had clearly stated our objections to Trump, it would be a big deal for a conservative editorial board in a conservative state to break ranks from the party.
We chose patriotism over party. We endorsed the Democrat.
And then the reaction started pouring in. Threats against our business. Threats against our people.
So, what is the response?
An excellent question. The entire piece is worth reading but here is a relevant portion:
To the anonymous caller who invoked the name of Don Bolles — he’s the Republic reporter who was assassinated by a car bomb 40 years ago — and threatened that more of our reporters would be blown up because of the endorsement, I give you Kimberly. She is the young woman who answered the phone when you called. She sat in my office and calmly told three Phoenix police detectives what you had said. She told them that later, she walked to church and prayed for you. Prayed for patience, for forgiveness. Kimberly knows free speech requires compassion.
Investigators examine the car of Don Bolles, investigative reporter for The Arizona Republic, who died on June 13, 1976.
To those who said we should be shut down, burned down, who said they hoped we would cease to exist under a new presidential administration, I give you Nicole. She is our editor who directs the news staff, independent of our endorsements. After your threats, Nicole put on her press badge and walked with her reporters and photographers into the latest Donald Trump rally in Prescott Valley, Ariz. She stood as Trump encouraged his followers to heckle and boo and bully journalists. Then she came back to the newsroom to ensure our coverage was fair. Nicole knows free speech requires an open debate.
A page from The Republic’s coverage of treatment at the VA. (Photo: The Republic)
To those of you who have said that someone who disagrees with you deserves to be punished, I give you Phil. Our editorial page editor is a lifelong Republican, a conservative and a patriot. He was an early voice of reason, arguing calmly that Donald Trump didn’t represent the values of the party he loves. Phil understands that free speech sometimes requires bravery.
To those of you who have spit on, threatened with violence, screamed at and bullied the young people going door-to-door selling subscriptions, I give you those dozens of young men and women themselves. Many sell subscriptions to work their way through school. Most were too frightened to share even their first names here. But they are still on the job. They know that free speech is part of a society that values hard work and equal opportunity.
To those of you who have called us hacks and losers with no purpose, and that we are un-American, I give you Dennis. He is the investigative reporter who first revealed the despicable mistreatment of our veterans at the VA hospital. His work triggered comprehensive debate and, one hopes, lasting change. He and others on his team have been hailed as heroes by veterans’ families across the country. Dennis knows that free speech is sometimes the only way to hold the powerful accountable.
To those of you who have invoked the name of longtime publisher Gene Pulliam, saying he is spinning in his grave, I give you his wife, Nina. After reporter Don Bolles was targeted by a bomber for doing his job, Nina Pulliam wept at his hospital bed. He died there slowly over 12 days. The Pulliams understood that free speech, and a free press, come at a cost.
There is nothing wrong with pointing out the biases of the media. Hell, we do it here at RedState almost every day. And despite all of their loud protestations to the contrary, reporters and journalists in the mainstream media, often allow their personal biases to get in the way of their reporting.
But media criticism goes too far when people are screaming and cursing at members of the press at Trump rallies. Valid criticism gets drowned out when people start blathering about “hoaxes” and “conspiracies” concocted by those in the media.
As for death threats, those are shameful (in addition to criminal). It is one thing for a journalist to be concerned if they’re covering the mob or Mexican drug cartels, but no journalist should fear for their life simply because they report something a supporter of a presidential candidate finds objectionable.
Thank you Mi-Ai Parrish, for writing this. It was needed.
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