The Rivertown Newspapers editorial team has apparently had it with the voice of the people.
The Forum Communications company published an editorial today in the Hudson Star-Observer saying it will no longer publish hate letters, “letters that threaten or that incite crimes including violence against anyone and for any reason. Period.”
The western Wisconsin paper cited letters and viewpoints that were directed at “Muslims, Christians, Jews or other religious groups,” which it says have elevated safety concerns.
We tried to honor people’s right to express their opinions, but the hate-filled messages pouring in concerning Islam and Muslims has gotten out of control. We refuse to be the vehicle for opinion pieces that are making us appear as if we support the bashing of other religions in our communities.
Many readers have reached out to express their distaste and horror that these pieces are published. We are listening.
Our staff does not have the time we’d like to do extensive fact checking on these viewpoints, which are mainly lists of crimes allegedly committed by Muslims.
Upon some digging, we have found many of these viewpoints to be plagiarized, rephrased slightly from other works and published elsewhere. That is not acceptable and we cannot tolerate it. Shame on us for not realizing it sooner, but shame on those who can’t use their own words.
Hudson has been dogged in recent months by a group opposed to resettling Syrian refugees in the community. A citizens group, formed to oppose a resolution declaring Hudson a welcoming city, has been flagged as a hate group.
The editorial followed after Meg Heaton, a former writer for the paper, took the paper’s editorial staff to task in a guest editorial for giving space to the hate.
It strikes me as more than a little ironic that some in our very privileged and diversity challenged hometown choose to lash out about a religion and the people who practice it as if is there is a real threat to our community.
I know people in Hudson who remember a time decades back when, if an African American family so much as showed an interest in a home here, the word would spread and the property would be off the market before an offer could be made. Today we clearly see that behavior as racist. Is what we’ve been reading in the HSO of late very different from that?
I have no doubt that the people who did that thought they were protecting Hudson from some kind of threat but they were wrong, just as wrong as those are now who seek to close our community to anyone who doesn’t share their beliefs.
In an editor’s note, the paper said it had already decided to write its statement before Heaton’s guest editorial arrived.