Florida newspaper ‘erred in publishing’ op-ed defending Proud Boys, editor says

The editor of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune on Monday said the newspaper had “erred in publishing a guest column on our opinion page and website with the headline ‘Attacking Proud Boys does disservice to caring parents.’”

“Our editorial process failed to keep this column from being published as it appeared, which did not meet our standards,” Executive Editor Jennifer Orsi wrote in an editor’s note.

The entry in question, published by the newspaper on Sunday, was responding to a June 24 guest column that criticized a member of the local school board for alleged ties to a local organization of the far-right extremist group. 

After the Herald-Tribune received a wave of blowback on Sunday, it took the entry down from its website, redirecting readers to a 404-error message page

“We strive to provide a broad range of views from our community, including opinions in opposition to those of our editorial board,” Orsi wrote. “However, the Herald-Tribune opinion page will not provide a forum for support of the Proud Boys, an extremist group that promotes white nationalist views, has been labeled a terrorist group by two countries and has top members under indictment on charges of seditious conspiracy in the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.” 

Elevating the ideas and profile of the Proud Boys is “antithetical to our values,” Orsi said, calling it “outside of our responsibility to provide a fair forum for different points of view.” 

The newspaper’s editor said it would add an additional, higher level review “of the process for accepting and editing guest columns for publication,” moving forward.

“We will continue to publish varied opinions from across the political spectrum on important local issues,” Orsi concluded. “But this decision fell short of our standards, and we apologize to our readers.” 

Updated at 11:43 a.m.

Tags Florida op-ed Proud Boys

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