When they go low, we go high? Not always, it seems. Or at least not at one weekly newspaper in Minnesota. Following the announcement that both the President and the First Lady had tested positive for the novel coronavirus, a Minnesota newspaper covering Minneapolis and St. Paul published an editorial going about as low as you could imagine. The editor-in-chief of City Pages, an “alternative weekly” publication, decided to celebrate the news with an editorial titled “Let’s laugh at all these very good ‘Trump has COVID’ tweets.” I’m sure you won’t need to stretch your imaginations very far to guess what sort of content the piece contained. But it turned out that this sort of “humor” was a bit too much for the paper’s publisher, who pulled the article and issued an apology for having “gone too far.” Gee… ya think? (Fox News)
A Minnesota newspaper has removed a piece from its website that mocked President Trump and first lady Melania Trump over their positive tests for coronavirus.
City Pages, an alternative weekly covering Minneapolis and St. Paul, published an article Friday headlined, “Let’s laugh at all these very good ‘Trump has COVID’ tweets.”
Editor-in-chief Emily Cassel led the piece by writing, “So President Trump and the First Lady have COVID. Man, anyone else just in a really, inexplicably good mood this morning?”
Publisher Mary Erickson described the article as “insensitive and in bad taste.”
The original article is indeed gone from the site, but you can find an archived copy of it here.
If you take a look at City Pages, you quickly get the impression that it’s not a terribly serious “news” outlet to begin with.The first couple of articles I skimmed through on their site had some fairly obvious and prominent typos and several of the articles had expletives in the titles. It’s also an unabashedly left-wing publication, featuring commentary laughing about the GoFundMe account for a Project Veritas whistleblower being frozen and all manner of climate change news. So coming out and celebrating the announcement that the President of the United States had contracted a potentially deadly disease probably shouldn’t be much of a shock.
And their top editor was indeed celebrating. She began with a not-very-subtle question, asking if anyone else was “just in a really, inexplicably good mood this morning.” She then goes on to feature and salute a number of tweets, including one which quite literally says, “it would be insanely funny if he died of the coronavirus.”
When it comes to the editor, Emily Cassel, I suppose the real question is why she’s still the editor if the publisher realized what an outrageous mistake this was and had to spike the editorial. I suppose Mary Erickson gets some credit for taking action, but how do you leave someone in charge at the top of your organization after something like this? I understand that she’s saying a “weekly alternative” paper is supposed to be edgy and “push the envelope” a bit. (That’s an exact quote from her, by the way.) But if you want to be taken seriously, even on an actual satire site there has to be a line somewhere. Doesn’t wishing death by disease on not only the President but his wife as well land you on the far side of that line?
I suppose I should be disappointed in myself for even being briefly surprised at this news. Some of the hate and venom I saw surging through my social media timeline yesterday morning was even worse than the City Pages editorial. But those are trolls on Twitter. I guess I just assumed that any outfit having the gall to call themselves a “newspaper” would exercise at least a small amount of restraint.