Quicker fellows than me at the AVA noted online in the July 14th “Mendocino County Today” (“Mendocino County Today” appears in the AVA’s print version as “Off The Record”) that the comment section of the Fort Bragg Advocate-News needed editing to stop racist remarks from going out over the worldwide web. The comment in question was posted in reaction to the Advocate-News “Court Report” of July 12, 2012. Someone calling themselves Jason Hayter wrote: “More G**ks with Ab’s over the limits when will all you faithfull rednecks just start shooting them before they get in the water."
First, there are many fine people in Mendocino County whose last name, by birth or marriage, happens to be Hayter.
Second, as the “Mendocino County Today” piece pointed out: These online comments need to be more closely monitored before racists such as Jason Hayter take them over. This leads us down the road to where responsibility for this racist speech ultimately lies. Hayter’s comments were posted on Thursday, July 12th within working hours. No one at the Advocate-News or its sister publication The Mendocino Beacon (They’re produced in the same cinder block palace in Fort Bragg) seems to have noticed the comment during the rest of Thursday and all of Friday. The AVA’s “Mendocino County Today” was online as of Saturday morning, the 14th. I did not read it until Sunday the 15th. Curiosity sent me to the Advocate-News website, thinking that the hate-laced comment must surely be gone by then, but, lo and behold, there it was, some 60-odd hours later for me and any computer literate child to read.
As far as I can tell, the Hayter comment was still online for all to digest until at least sometime on Monday, July 16th before finally being pulled.
A reminder for readers who may not be aware: River Views ran for a quarter century in the Mendocino Beacon before a paragraph about the value of Mendocino County’s marijuana crop and another about the profits of The Gap Inc. and its connections to Mendocino Redwood Company were censored as “inappropriate” by the powers that be at the Beacon and Advocate-News. At that point this column transferred to the AVA.
Hayter’s comment ceased its online life on July 16th, but another comment by Susan Neilson has been up and running on the same Advocate-News “Court Report” response page since July 13th. Neilson uses the same slur word, apparently in reference to Southeast Asians cited for illegal abalone gathering: “… imagine how many g**ks are getting away with it compared to the ones getting caught…”
As of July 25th the comment was still running on the Advocate-News website. Apparently, the publisher, Sharon Di Mauro, and editor, Connie Korbel, have decided that it is okay to continually publish racial slurs, as long as you don’t promulgate shooting those folks you are casting the slurs at.
Deep Throat told Bob Woodward, “Follow the money.” Both the Beacon and Advocate-News are owned by the Media News Group, a corporate entity that could care less what happens on the Mendocino Coast as long as its newspapers there keep making money for shareholders. The more “hits” a newspaper’s website gets the more money it can charge to advertisers.
So which is it, incredibly crass money-grubbing or acceptance of racial slurs by prolonged ignorance? Newspapers that leave racial slurs un-expunged for two weeks are not deserving of ongoing support. Hopefully, readers of the Advocate-News or Beacon will let their sense of ethics show by cancelling subscriptions.