Earlier this week, Goodloe Sutton, the editor and publisher of a small local paper in western Alabama published an editorial calling for the “Ku Klux Klan to night ride again” and “clean up” Washington DC with a few choice lynchings.
Sutton later clarified: “It’s not calling for the lynchings of Americans. These are socialist-communists we’re talking about. Do you know what socialism and communism is?”
Alas that did not really clarify things. And, unsurprisingly, a further review of the paper’s archives showed countless other racist diatribes and controversies. This Alabama J-School prof lamented how Sutton had been treated and even received awards as a member in good standing of the journalism community, especially its critical local journalism sector, despite being a notorious racist.
Now comes news that the 80 year old Sutton has retired from his management of the paper and will now “drink beer and sex young women.”
And that is not the most curious part of it. Sutton says he has turned the paper over to an African-American woman named Elecia Dexter, who he says has worked at the paper for a number of years. Here’s a press release about the handover.
The follow up reporting is mainly from Chip Brownlee, writing in the Alabama Political Reporter. As he notes, it’s not completely clear what this handover means since Sutton and his family have owned the paper for decades. And it’s not clear he’s sold it. As with many local papers, the paper has become a shadow of its former self. So perhaps it wasn’t possible to sell it or he just gave it to her. Notably, Brownlee wasn’t able to get any response from Dexter or seemingly to find out much more about her.