Local Colonial Beach, Virginia newspaper The Westmoreland News recently published an entire recruitment flyer for the Ku Klux Klan on the front page, Newsweek reports. The flyer, which included anti-Semitic and racist language as well as a contact number, was intended to act as an accompanying element to the story that such flyers and DVDs from the hate group have begun popping up around the town. However, many residents are upset at the newspaper’s decision, arguing it is essentially giving the KKK free advertising.
The paper did run a warning alongside the flyer, stating:
“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.”
“When I look into a newspaper from my community, I expect to be informed about the happenings of my local atmosphere. I don't expect to feel threatened, belittled, and unwanted,” Facebook user J Lemar Smith wrote on the paper’s official Facebook page. “There is no problem with making the locals aware of the events surrounding these advertisements, but submitting a free advertisement on the front page is unacceptable.”
Colonial Beach Police Chief Danny Plott was “shocked” at the front page. He was actually the one who gave the flyer to the newspaper to inform them of the story. He did not believe it would be published, much less in full and on the front page. He has since received phone calls from upset residents.
Plott told local news station WTVR he called the newspaper’s editor. “She explained that she wanted to put it in to show people that those of us in Colonial Beach who may think there’s not racism,” he said. “I think she didn’t expect for this to blow up the way it did.”
“They are domestic terrorists. They terrorize communities. Their intent is to get their America back, but you have to think, how are they going to get their America back?” one resident asked WTVR. “At this point, the flyer doesn’t even matter. It’s on the front page of the newspaper for everybody to see.”
The outrage has spread to social media, where many are surprised at the newspaper’s decision but not at the fact that the KKK has recruitment flyers, because, well, have you seen how the president talks about Nazis?