Some of you may be wondering why we didn’t report on the plans of Sunday’s protest in Grayson prior to the event.
There’s a simple explanation: It would be completely irresponsible to be part of the problem.
If we had printed a story previewing Sunday’s event as we had for previous marches and protests, it would have elicited fear, feelings of hatred and possible violence. Our job is not to employ fear tactics in order for you to click on a story.
We talked with law enforcement and a central organizer of Grayson’s event prior to Sunday. The hope from both, according to them, was that it would be a peaceful march. However, rumors were running rampant — different organizations, some of which gravitate to chaos, were mentioned to have potential involvement.
When we realized we couldn’t adequately corroborate or quell those rumors, we elected to not print a word about the protest until after events transpired Sunday.
We were aware, to some degree, that at least a few armed non-law-enforcement individuals would be present.
When the Grayson Chamber issued a widely shared advisory, it further confirmed that we made the correct decision to simply allow everything to play out and report what happened. If we as a newspaper had printed that advisory without addressing all of the rumors, it would have been irresponsible.
We received no confirmation of any biker gangs, the NFAC, supposedly scheduled speakers or any other groups attending the event. However, we could not properly quash the rumors, either.
In an effort to be fully transparent, we admittedly disclose that we did not devote several hours to watching and/or listening to every single second of the key organizer’s multiple lengthy videos. We did not have the time or resources to dedicate the required large chunk of time to that task.
We did, however, view the nearly two-minute-long heavily edited video that circulated social media platforms just prior to the event. We must be careful about jumping to conclusions regarding those clips because much of it can be taken out of context. It was a clear departure from the organizer’s normal style.
We want our readers to know we worked as much as possible to sort out answers before even making a decision on how to cover the sultry Sunday afternoon event.
Although many may disagree with how those marching — and those counter-protesting — went about assembling and publicizing this particular event, it appears most of what caused so much angst and aversion was social media misinformation.