Some readers have registered their displeasure about a News-Journal story Sunday about the Ku Klux Klan in its 150th year of existence. Others have said they appreciated knowing more about the history and status of the Klan and its connection to current events.
Some who are upset have suggested the story’s publication somehow indicates the News-Journal’s support of the Klan or of the hatred and divisiveness it fosters.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
The News-Journal publishes stories about many subjects and in most cases that coverage indicates only that the subject is newsworthy, of importance or interest to its audience. The newspaper has covered a frightening increase in murders in our city but does not support murder. It has documented a sizable increase in the number of rapes reported this year but does not support rape. It has published many stories about business closings and layoffs but does not support East Texans being thrown out of work.
Other readers argued from another side, saying the story’s publication was unfair because while the Klan remains a white supremacist reality there also are black supremacist groups. And a couple of those we’ve heard from said they are Klan members in Texas who said they wanted to make clear the group today is not about lynch mobs and murder but “white pride” and nationalism.
Some even suggested publication of the current facts of this organization that maintains a foothold in our region will widen the division between races in our nation. We believe the Klan and other separatist movements are responsible for such division, not knowledge of those movements.
The News-Journal takes seriously its responsibility to inform its audience about a variety of subjects. Some are reasons for celebration and pride, and we revel in telling those stories.
Others are less palatable, but must be told. If ignoring difficult realities would make them go away we would gladly remain silent. But ignoring them has the opposite result. Ignoring uncomfortable and ugly truths allows them to gain a foothold, to grow and flourish. Ignoring them would be an abdication of this newspaper’s responsibility to its audience, which it strives to serve without fear or favor.