Monday, April 1, 2019

The Democrat-Reporter: Ku Klux Klan Ride Again (February 2019)

 The Democrat-Reporter: Ku Klux Klan Ride Again (February 2019)

The Case
 A family in Linden, Alabama by the name Sutton have owned a newspaper called the Democrat-Reporter since 1917. The current owner's name is Goodloe Sutton, who also takes control of the editorial position in the company. The Democrat-Reporter is a well looked at news outlet in Linden. Goodloe Sutton is a very dedicated man and puts a lot of work into his pieces. Goodloe slowly gained popularity but he was also known for casing controversy such as targeting local officials. It wasn't always good publicity.
     On February 14, 2019, the experienced paper publisher and editor Goodloe Sutton took people by surprise with a rather controversial topic for his daily story. Mr. Sutton, in basic terms, strongly suggested that the Ku Klux Klan organize themselves and head for Washington to “clean out” D.C., or in other words to kill members of governmental parties. This extremely upset people and hours later it was spread throughout all social media making the article more known. Goodloe Sutton argues that the Democrats are planning to raise taxes and do not actually care about the people, only money. Although, no one cared for his reasoning, people were offended by these threats and awful comments. It even created many upset African Americans due to the Ku Klux Klan being gloried as "ruling race" by Goodloe. Goodloe did not care though, he doubled down on his remarks and did not care if people had a problem with it. 
     As this issue began to spread senators and representatives even begun to take notice of this article. Many of these senators and representatives strongly encouraged Goodloe to resign. Eventually, they finally did get Goodloe to resign from his editorial position while still maintaining ownership though. Goodloe promoted an African American journalist, Elecia Dexter. Elecia plans to change the stories the company publishes but knows it may take a while to gain the respect and support back.


     The stakeholders of this issue are pretty easy to understand. They consist of  Goodloe Sutton, the Democrat-Reporter readers, the Democrat-Reporter employees, the general population, and the Democrats in DC. Goodloe Sutton is a stakeholder because is the one who actually wrote and published this article. Goodloe is putting his reputation and career on the line for posting this article. The Democrat-Reporter readers and supporters are impacted due to the fact that they may receive all their political news from this newspaper. This article may lead to readers becoming upset and lead them to lose respect for the Democrat-Reporter even though they relied on them for news. The Democrat-Reporters employees, such as Elecia Dexter, are also taking the heat for this article because they work for the company. Now that the public is angry at this newspaper company they could potentially lose their job or chose to leave their job because they do not want to work for a company with these types of views. Democrats in DC, this is because their actual lives are being threatened. Goodloe is trying to tell the Ku Klux Klan to kill the Democrats. Lastly, the general population because a large amount was hurt about these awful comments especially the African American community who have received a lot of harassment from the Ku Klux Klan over many decades. 

The Theories 

      Individualism is having the mindset that the only goal of a business is to maximize profits to increase the wealth of owners and shareholders. In this issue, Goodloe Sutton is actually going against individualism. The Democrat-Reporter generates an annual revenue of $1 to $2.5 million a year, but reports show that every time that they release controversial they take a loss in revenue. For example, when Goodloe targeted local officials he eventually lost $1000 in advertisements and 57% of his subscribers. This surely has a negative impact on how profitable the company was. Since this Ku Klux Klan article went even more viral he most likely will end up losing more profit than ever, especially since 46.7% of Linden, Alabama is African American! Since these controversial articles make the Democrat-Reporter lose business, they are clearly not profiting to reach Individualism.
       The basis of utilitarianism is to ultimately maximum happiness for yourself and others, or for the business. Goodloe being the owner of the newspaper should have the mindset to make his readers and his employees happy because they are fundamental key aspects to his business. Although, he did not think about how many people would be harmed by his choice or words. He upset many people with his comments, including his own employees. He lost the respect and support of many people online and in his town. People were angry with him to the point where is encouraged him to resign. It is also fair to assume Goodloe was not very happy to resign from his editorial position. A large number of people ended up being unhappy with the article, so it clearly did not maximize everyone's happiness!
        In Kantianism, you need to respect others and the choice they choose to make. You need to think of things rationally and do action actions out of Good Will. If you partake in an activity where they need to make a decision you make sure they a well-informed with the truthful information and help them to make the best rational decision. You are supposed to not care about the outcome only the fact that you helped the person making the best decision. Goodloe did not provide people with information to make a decision on the issue themselves. He strongly encourages his opinion of having Democrats killed, even though it is not a good "ration decision.". He solely just wants to use the support of his readers and the power of Ku Klux Klan for his own personal desire. This instantly breaks the rule of Kantianism.
     The idea of Virtue theory is the theory that rationality is important and you need to be virtuous. Rationality can separate you from others making you the better person. You need to have courage, temperance, honesty, and justice. In order to be virtuous and happy, you need to find your function in life. Goodloe did not act with any courage at all. Goodloe expressed his feelings through a newspaper that encouraged others to do harm. There was also no sign of temperance or restraint. Goodloe poured out a very strong opinion, he did not hold back. Honesty is probably the only trait he showed. He was honest to his readers on how he felt, he did not false pretend like he actually liked what was happening. He could’ve lied to benefit the company and make readers happy but he stayed true to his feeling even though it was going to negatively impact the newspaper company. Lastly, ordering the Ku Klux Klan to go out and kill people is not justice by any means.

Justified Ethics Evaluation 

       Based on ethical theories, Goodloe Sutton did not achieve any of the theories. With all the Experience that Goodloe had in being these types of issues, you would assume he should know better now. Goodloe Sutton resigning so quickly suggests that he understood how unethical it was of him. Many were expecting an apology but Goodloe Sutton only doubled down on his opinion. Goodloe thought about himself and only himself even though it may have caused harm to others. The motivation behind the article was on a criminal level, making this situation extremely unethical in every way. Even though Goodloe did resign, he surely will still carry around this issue for the rest of his life. 

Action Plan
      Now that Goodloe created this issue people now think he is crazy and is a violent person who actually might be a racist because of his Ku Klux Klan comments. He created a bad image for himself and the entire company. Stepping down from his editorial position and promoting Elecia Dexter was the right move. For here on out Goodloe should stay in the shadows and make the African American editorial, Elecia Dexter, the face of the company from now on. Elecia Dexter should slowly change the stories the company publishes to more of community-friendly news that she enjoys writing about. This will hopefully change the image of the company entire to detach the company away from the issue over time. The mission statement is to change what the public thinks about when they hear the name “Democrat-Reporter”. 
The company can start to express positive values such as kindness and compassion, unlike Goodloe’s violent and rude tendencies. This will help to show respect to people that they write about and to take an understanding path when speaking about events and problems they write about. They can also emphasize their reliability and truthfulness once again so that they may try to gain the trust and respect back from its previous subscribers. This could possibly change their articles completely for the better. They could even develop the idea that any article that is set to be published should be approved by everyone in the office in order for it to be printed so that it runs through a number of filters before being pure. This will help filter out the bad articles that make people upset. They may even gain new followers that are more interested in their newer topics that the company publishes. This will possibly get the company back to its profiting state or even profiting even more than ever!

Brice-Saddler, Michael. “A Newspaper Editor Urged the KKK to 'Ride Again.' A Black Woman Is Taking His Place.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 25 Feb. 2019,
Data Access and Dissemination Systems (DADS). “American FactFinder - Results.” American FactFinder - Results, 5 Oct. 2010,
Farzan, Antonia Noori, and Michael Brice-Saddler. “'Time for the Ku Klux Klan to Night Ride Again': An Alabama Newspaper Editor Wants to Bring Back Lynching.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 19 Feb. 2019,
Gassiott, Kyle. “Ala. Newspaper Publisher Is Criticized For Controversial KKK Op-Ed.” NPR, NPR, 20 Feb. 2019,,
Mervosh, Sarah. “Alabama Newspaper That Called for K.K.K. to 'Ride Again' Has a New Editor: A Black Woman.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 23 Feb. 2019,
Salazar, Heather. The Business Ethics Case Manual, n.d.

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