‘We Chose Patriotism Over Party’: Arizona Republic Responds To Threats Over Hillary Endorsement

arizona-republic-endorsementeditedLate last month, the Arizona Republic broke 126 years of tradition by declining to endorse the GOP candidate for president, instead choosing Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Well, apparently, many of the paper’s readers were pretty upset by the snub of Donald Trump and let their anger be known to the publication in letters and messages. Mi-Ai Parrish, President of the Republic responded with a letter to those readers, explaining why they made the decision they did and pointing out how much their staff respects free speech.

To those who said we should be shut down, burned down, who said they hoped we would cease to exist under a new presidential administration, I give you Nicole. She is our editor who directs the news staff, independent of our endorsements. After your threats, Nicole put on her press badge and walked with her reporters and photographers into the latest Donald Trump rally in Prescott Valley, Ariz. She stood as Trump encouraged his followers to heckle and boo and bully journalists. Then she came back to the newsroom to ensure our coverage was fair. Nicole knows free speech requires an open debate.

To those of you who have said that someone who disagrees with you deserves to be punished, I give you Phil. Our editorial page editor is a lifelong Republican, a conservative and a patriot. He was an early voice of reason, arguing calmly that Donald Trump didn’t represent the values of the party he loves. Phil understands that free speech sometimes requires bravery.

To those of you who have spit on, threatened with violence, screamed at and bullied the young people going door-to-door selling subscriptions, I give you those dozens of young men and women themselves. Many sell subscriptions to work their way through school. Most were too frightened to share even their first names here. But they are still on the job. They know that free speech is part of a society that values hard work and equal opportunity.

Parrish also gave a personal word to those issuing threats and saying “Jesus will judge” her, bringing up her own family history regarding her grandfather being persecuted for his Christianity prior to coming to the United States.

She ended the column by letting the readers know what all of the paper’s journalists experience when they come to work every day.

But the journalists I introduced you to here walk into the newsroom every day to do their jobs.

When they do, they pass by an inscription that fills an entire wall, floor to ceiling. It is 45 words long. It is an idea that is in my thoughts a lot these days.

It is the First Amendment.

Watch the video above of the paper offering its endorsement of Clinton, via Arizona Republic.

[image via screengrab]

Follow Justin Baragona on Twitter: @justinbaragona

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