Pittsburgh Paper's 'Embrace of Racist Values' Causes Employee Revolt

Fans walk over the Roberto Clemente Bridge towards PNC Park before Game 3 of the National League Division Series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals on October 6, 2013, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Employees at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette are revolting against the publisher of the paper following a “reprehensible” editorial about the Trump administration. Getty Images North America

The editorial employees at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette are revolting against the publisher of the paper, John Robinson Block, after Block allowed what they believe to be a "reprehensible" editorial about the Trump administration to run.

The Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh released a statement on behalf of the editorial employees. The statement, written as a letter to the editor, spoke out against the editorial published Monday titled "Reason as Racism: An Immigration Debate Gets Derailed."

John Robinson Block, the @PittsburghPG publisher who was behind the reprehensible editorial "Reason for Racism," will not allow this letter to the editor to appear in the newspaper. We offer it here. pic.twitter.com/dTHbcAorTn

— Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh 🗞 (@PGNewsGuild) January 17, 2018

"As a matter of its course, the Guild does not weigh in on editorial positions," the letter to the editor said. "But this piece is so extraordinary in its mindless, sycophantic embrace of racist values and outright bigotry espoused by this country's President that we would be morally, journalistically, and humanly remiss not to speak out against it."

The letter, signed by the 11 members of the Executive Committee of the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh, was published in a tweet after it wasn't approved by Block to be published in the paper.

"To be clear, no member of the Newspaper Guild had anything to do with that editorial and we stand together in solidarity against the bigotry, hatred, and divisiveness it engenders," the letter continued.

"Reason as Racism" argues in defense of President Donald Trump and his "shithole" comment regarding immigrants from countries like Haiti and nations in Africa.

"If Donald Trump is called a racist for saying some nations are 'shithole countries,' does that help pass a 'Dreamers' bill to keep gifted young people in this nation — people who have something to give the United States and are undocumented only because they were brought here by their parents illegally?"

The piece goes on to ask if Trump using the word "hellhole" rather than "shithole" would have been considered racist.

"If he had used the word 'failed states,' would that have been racist?" it asked.

Trump allegedly made the comment during a meeting regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

"It is not racist to say that this country cannot take only the worst people from the worst places and that we want some of the best people from the best places, many of which are inhabited by people of color. That's not racism, it is reason."

Block, who is in his early 60s, is the publisher of both the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and its sister newspaper the Toledo Blade.

In 2013, Block was quoted in the Blade saying that people of color need to pull themselves up "by their bootstraps" just as they did in the "old days."

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial staff's goal in writing a letter to the editor was to distance itself from the beliefs stated in "Reason as Racism."

"This editorial and its sentiments solely represent the opinions of the Block family, owners of the Post-Gazette, and not their loyal employees who use our talents to fight against what this editorial stands for," the employees wrote.