Enterprise-Record (Chico)

Shining a light on hate


Editor’s note: As we reported Tuesday, a white-supremacis­t organizati­on inserted racist fliers into copies of the Chico News & Review and delivered them to a number of homes in the Magalia area recently. We were planning to denounce this act with our own editorial, but — in a show of solidarity, and with permission of the CN&R — we are instead yielding our editorial space today to reprint the editorial published by CN&R online Tuesday. We join CN&R in condemning these actions and urge anyone with informatio­n on such acts to contact the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

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, many hate groups are 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 the CN&R 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 is being used to distribute such nonsense.

As most locals know, the CN&R does not deliver. Its papers are freely available from 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 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 the CN&R decided to share it as well.)

If you’ve encountere­d hate groups in your area, please report the informatio­n to the Anti-Defamation League and the SPLC.

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