Editors Note: The views expressed are the unanimous opinion of the editors of the Tropolitan. Editorials stand as the official, corporate opinion of the Tropolitan. Our opinions are not influenced by campus organizations or societies, university administration or political parties.
The editors of the Tropolitan would like to address a recent editorial column from the Democrat-Reporter in Linden who advocated a political view based on hatred, not from a heart of service.
The column, “Klan needs to ride again,” was authored by the Reporter’s editor and publisher, Goodloe Sutton, and advocated for lynching as a way to prevent tax increases.
As aspiring journalists, we consider this profession not just as our future livelihood, but also as a way to serve community members by publishing the truth.
This reflects in news reporting from outlets across the nation. CNN and Fox news may have different views on why mass shootings occur, but will both objectively report a shooting to inform people on it.
The editorial staff, on the other hand, have flexibility in terms of presenting solutions or varying points of view on issues. A conservative media outlet will argue for lower taxes while a liberal outlet will claim that Medicaid for all is the solution to America’s healthcare crisis.
The Tropolitan regularly publishes opinion columns which present different viewpoints on societal issues, with a goal to start conversations among students. We want to encourage people to engage with those they disagree with. In the process, students learn that the solution to disagreements in a civilized society is a productive clash of ideas.
Sutton’s editorial, unfortunately, does not argue, advocate or serve anyone, least of all people who believe in a conservative fiscal policy.
Instead, Sutton openly advocates for violence and the lynching of people who have a differing viewpoint from him.
In the process of doing so, the editorial blatantly ignores established facts like the history of the Ku Klux Klan and the horrible crimes they committed against black people.
More importantly, the editorial goes against everything opinion writing is about.
Opinion writing and editorials are meant to foster a conversation on issues where people hold differing views. We want to find common ground with people we disagree with while also attempting to convince them about what we believe in. Nowhere in this process do we threaten to kill those who don’t agree with us. That is the characteristic of a dictatorial regime, not a free democratic nation.
We want to emphasize that it is not acceptable to use a platform meant to serve to push hatred. The Tropolitan stands for the First Amendment and advocates for everyone to express their views on all issues.
But what we cannot stand for is the misuse of the responsibility we are entrusted with. Editorial power is an opportunity but also a responsibility.
Editorials, like the one authored by Sutton, not only highlight the worst aspects of the nation, but also bring a bad reputation to a profession of service.
Make no mistake, we stand by everyone’s right to express their views. But we will not ever condone someone’s choice to use that right to promote hatred and violence by completely ignoring reality.
That is not journalism.