Alabama Newspaper Publisher Calls for KKK Lynchings to "Clean Out D.C.,' Compares Group to NAACP In Editorial

An Alabama newspaper publisher called for the white hoods and robes of his state's past to reset the thinking of current lawmakers in Washington, D.C.

The Democrat-Reporter in Linden, Alabama, has a small circulation, but its publisher grabbed national attention when he opened a recent editorial with: "Time for the Ku Klux Klan to night ride again."

Democrat-Reporter publisher Goodloe Sutton told the Mongomery Advertiser that he wrote those words to rile his base to shake up Washington, to try to give the new Democratic "socialists" a better understanding of how taxes and expenditures work.

"If we could get the Klan to go up there and clean out D.C., we'd all be better off," Sutton told the Advertiser.

When The Advertiser questioned Sutton's editorial and his intentions further, he doubled down on his stance, saying that the KKK only "killed but a few people," and he didn't consider it a violent group. He likened it more to the NAACP.

"A violent organization?" Sutton asked. "Well, they didn't kill but a few people. The Klan wasn't violent until they needed to be."

Sutton has worked at the newspaper since 1964—the same year the landmark Civil Rights Act, which ended segregation in public places and banned discrimination in employment. He later inherited the newspaper from his father, The Advertiser reported.

The editorial was first shared online by the editorial staff of the Auburn Plainsmen on Monday. Chip Brownlee, the Plainsmen's editor-in-chief, called Sutton's editorial a "return of domestic terrorism—no matter its form."

"As a newspaper editor myself, it's disturbing to see this type of editorial printed," Brownlee told the Advertiser. "Granted, I'm the editor of a student newspaper, but all newspapers should be held to the highest ethical and moral standards. Editorials should be about new ideas, constructive criticism and opinion backed up by facts. To call for the return of domestic terrorism—no matter its form—is counterproductive and wrong. It's important to welcome and encourage differing opinions, but violence is never right."

The Alabama Press Association didn't say whether Linden's Democrat-Reporter was a member of the association, but Felicia Mason, APA's executive director, told the Advertiser: "We do not agree with the opinion. However, APA is not a policing agency. We simply have no authority over what our member newspapers publish."