Do media outlets have a responsibility to alert the community to the presence, however small, of hate-group propaganda being distributed locally? To mention a group’s name in the news might raise its profile, which could lead to more discrimination. However, hate groups are often based on ideas that are extremely dangerous, and to bring such potentially harmful information to light is the most appropriate response.
Over the past week, the Chico News & Review received distressing reports of fliers promoting a well-known white-supremacist organization being inserted into copies of this newspaper and then distributed to homes in the Magalia area. A phone call to the Paradise Police Department revealed that several complaints had been filed, and that multiple local publications had reportedly been used in a similar manner to deliver the fliers to locations across Butte County.
It is very disturbing that this hate group’s ideology—which the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) calls “explicitly genocidal,” and promotes the “creation of an all-white homeland”—is being disseminated locally and especially so that the CN&R was used to distribute such nonsense.
As most locals know, the CN&R does not deliver. Its papers are freely available from news racks and boxes, and whoever did this stole copies and delivered them without the knowledge or consent of the News & Review. In the strongest terms possible, the CN&R condemns this action, as well as the hateful group featured in the flier and the horrific ideas it represents.
Reporting on, without promoting, hate groups/speech has been a tightrope local news organizations have walked for decades. If this had been merely a disgusting prank that occurred in a vacuum, then maybe the CN&R doesn’t risk fanning the small flame. However, the volatile political/social climate and rise in hate and anti-governmental groups in this country in recent years has trained us to not dismiss any incident of hate as simply a fringe occurrence. The CN&R spoke to people who received the flier, and some of them were extremely upset, especially the Magalia resident who shared that there’s a home nearby with a Confederate flag outside and another in the area displaying what they described as Nazi symbols.
Butte County is obviously not a vacuum, which is the main reason the CN&R has decided to share information about this incident with the public. (Presumably, at least two other local media outlets who interviewed the editor of this newspaper have decided to share it as well.)
We’ve chosen to leave the name of the hate group in question out and not promote it further, but if you want to know more you can click the first link in the editorial.
If you’ve encountered hate groups in your area, please report the information to the Anti-Defamation League, the SPLC and your local police department.
This is shocking and totally sucks (understatement). It’s really sad. I am glad you reported on it. I definitely wanted to know.
This is terribly disturbing. It is hard to imagine that there are people in our own community who hold these dangerous beliefs – unless they are “outside agitators” who are trying to stir the antisemitism pot. Thank you, CNR, for letting the public know this is happening right here at home. We need to let those hate-filled people know that our we residents of Chico/Paradise/Magalia and surrounds will stand strong to defend all who are targeted with this dangerous rhetoric. As a Jew who knows the long and bloody history of antisemitism, it frightens me deeply that it is rising again!
Thank you for bringing this horrific type of behavior to our community’s attention. This behavior does not represent our community.
It is every person’s responsibility to ensure that all human beings regardless of race, creed, ethnicity, financial abilities, or choice of politics has the right to experience humanity from all they encounter, and the responsibility to share the same humanity to others. To slander, claim superiority over other humans, or bully others is bad human behavior – there is no exception to this, and especially, no entitlement or executive privilege. This is monumentally true when someone is supposed to be, by fortune or status, an example of humanity.
We as Americans have the right to vote, and with this right, we have the responsibility to research, learn about the behavior and truths of those who seek our votes. Behavior such as selling lies and misleading information to manipulate others in a dishonest manner such as what has occurred with C&N is the action of a person(s) not deserving of our attention. Simply listening to ‘lip-service’ stated over the bridge of a pulpit or sitting in front of a camera or any other mass media distribution is us being manipulated. Using this as a source of truth is a demonstration of neglectful research. We need to be aware of every want-to-be elected person’s historical actions, affiliations, and behavior characteristics. When is the last time someone seeking our vote sold to us, or even hinted to a story disclosing actions of theft, lies told, or poor humanity behavior. Too many of those seeking office in these times have demonstrated their historical behavior but sell their lie. We have the duty to seek the truth to ensure our representatives and leaders demonstrate the characteristics we want our nation to stand for. Only we as individuals, can make this nation the home we want it to be.