South Dakota Newspaper Editor Wants Nothing To Do With GOPer’s Crazy Obama-ISIL Joke

October 6, 2014 6:01 p.m.

Earlier today, TPM flagged a column by a South Dakota lawmaker that started out folksy and ended on a highly inflammatory note.

In the piece that was published last month, Republican state Rep. Betty Olson provided casual observations about the weather, noting the large amount of rainfall and an unexpected dip in temperature in her area. She shared her experiences at a local rodeo and Labor Day parade. And then she closed with a joke about President Obama being a part of the Islamic State.

TPM provided a link to Olson’s work, which appears on the website, home of the Rapid City Journal newspaper. Several hours later, the editor of that paper, Bart Pfankuch, sent an email making it clear that he wanted nothing to do with the column.

He explained that it was actually published by the Butte County Post, not the Rapid City Journal. And although the Post is owned by the Journal, Pfankuch insisted that Olson’s ramblings would never pass muster in his paper.

“I hope maybe you can update your piece to indicate that, since as editor, I would never approve such a column,” Pfankuch told TPM in the email.

“I don’t supervise the editor up there, but I think he probably just lets her run wild,” he added in a subsequent email.

Pfankuch also said that Olson, who led the post-Sandy Hook effort to arm teachers in South Dakota, might end up inspiring a piece in the Journal.

“We’re actually talking now about whether to do a piece for the daily on a lawmaker who says such things,” he wrote. “She’s been out there in a lot of things…but this is a Whaaaaa? moment I don’t think we can ignore.”

Latest Livewire
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Senior Editor:
Special Projects Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front-End Developer:
Senior Designer: