Heather called the publisher of the Roswell Beacon to let him know just how offended she was by his newspaper’s cover, here is what happened:
In fairness to the publisher, John Fredericks, he immediately issued a statement apologizing for any offence. He personally told me that “one of the most distressing things for him” is to be cast in the same mold as the white supremacists whose ideology he abhors. He is no bigot, no racist, and made a bad judgement call in selecting that inflammatory image for his cover, he just wanted to illustrate the severity of the the risk. Here in his own words, John Fredericks:
From the Publisher:
We have been publishing the Beacon for a little over 18 months. We believe most of the time we get it right. Regarding our May 15th cover, we got it wrong.
As publisher of the Beacon, I am ultimately responsible. I am accountable.
On behalf of the Beacon, I sincerely apologize for offending anyone or any group by our May 15th cover. We are very distressed at having upset anyone, and we can understand how by just looking at the cover without having access to read the related story it was meant to depict is clearly offensive.
The cover story for the May 15, 2008 issue of the Beacon featured an investigative report entitled White Supremacy Groups Threatened by Obama Candidacy. The report brought to our community’s attention the need for law enforcement to prepare for a possible Obama backlash by organized hate groups operating in our area.
Unfortunately, the image on the cover overshadowed the seriousness of the story and that is regrettable. Again, we apologize to anyone or any group that was offended. We understand how just by looking at the cover one can jump to conclusions, and we are very sorry for that.
I have sincerely apologized on CNN, CNN Headline News, Fox News and the nationally syndicated Michael Baisden show, among many other media outlets, for upsetting anyone. This was clearly not our objective. Our goal was to expose and bring law enforcement scrutiny to local hate groups mobilizing in our area who threaten the security of Senator Obama and all Americans.
As responsible journalists we take the job of reporting the truth seriously. Our mission is to provide our readers with relevant news and information. We do not take political stands nor do we offer editorial opinions in our publication.
Although the topic is uncomfortable, these hate groups do exist. They are dangerous and armed. Until now they have been operating under the law enforcement radar screen. They must be exposed and law enforcement should be encouraged to monitor their activities.
The cover image was designed to bring attention to the seriousness of this situation. We understand the cover can be construed as disrespectful and inflammatory. That was not the intent. Our intention was to get law enforcement focused on tracking these groups much more closely.
We live in a post 9-11, post Oklahoma City, post Eric Rudolph world. Rudolph blew up a planned-parenthood clinic in Sandy Springs close to where my kids went to school at the time. These groups and domestic terror cells can no longer be dismissed.
In about 60 days Senator Obama will emerge from Denver the U.S. Presidential nominee of a major political party, less than 150 years since the Civil War. This will be an historic and epic event in U.S. history. His very nomination changes the political and social landscapes forever, win or lose. Like the MLK speech, his acceptance speech on the Denver convention floor will surely go down in history. This is an exciting time in journalism, and for all of us, as Americans.
Those warped hate groups that threaten this history making event with vile and gross mantra and chatter should be monitored much more closely.
The Beacon values our readers. We sincerely regret any discomfort this report may have caused and offer our thanks for your readership.
You are invited to share your views and comments via the Contact link on this page.
We appreciate the opportunity to serve you.
Please find the link to the actual story below. Feel free to call me on my cell at any time, 678-481-6251.
John Fredericks, Publisher, Beacon Media
Thank you, Mr. Fredericks.