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Editor of Alabama newspaper calls for the Ku Klux Klan to 'night ride again'

The editorial in the Democrat-Reporter weekly in Linden railed against Democrats who "are plotting to raise taxes" in the state.

The editor of a newspaper in Alabama wrote an editorial that called for the Ku Klux Klan "to night ride again" against Democrats who "are plotting to raise taxes" in the state.

The editorial, titled "Klan needs to ride again," appeared in a Feb. 14 print edition of the Democrat-Reporter in Linden, a weekly newspaper covering Marengo County.

Goodloe Sutton, editor and publisher of the newspaper, confirmed to several local media outlets that he wrote the editorial.

"If we could get the Klan to go up there and clean out D.C., we'd all been better off," he told the Montgomery Advertiser. "We'll get the hemp ropes out, loop them over a tall limb and hang all of them."

Image: Goodloe Sutton, a newspaper editor from Alabama
Goodloe Sutton, a newspaper editor from Alabama, presents the International Press Freedom Award to Ruth Simon, on screen, in New York on Nov. 24, 1998.Stan Honda / AFP/Getty Images file

In the editorial, Sutton writes that the Democrats and Democrats in the Republican Party "do not understand how to eliminate expenses when money is needed in other areas."

"This socialist-communist ideology sounds good to the ignorant, the uneducated, and the simple-minded people," he wrote.

The editorial led to outrage after it was shared on Twitter by Chip Brownlee, a journalist for the Alabama Political Reporter. Brownlee told NBC News he is familiar with the Democrat-Reporter and decided to post a picture of the editorial because he "thought other people needed to see it, too."

"As an editor, seeing that type of dangerous language in a newspaper is disturbing," he said. "I think sunlight is the best disinfectant."

The editorial also caught the attention of Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., who called on Sutton to resign.

"OMG! What rock did this guy crawl out from under? This editorial is absolutely disgusting & he should resign -NOW," Jones tweeted. "I have seen what happens when we stand by while people-especially those with influence- publish racist, hateful views. Words matter. Actions matter. Resign now!"

Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Ala., echoed Jones' sentiments, telling Sutton to apologize and resign.

"For the millions of people of color who have been terrorized by white supremacy, this kind of 'editorializing' about lynching is not a joke — it is a threat," she tweeted. "These comments are deeply offensive and inappropriate, especially in 2019."

Calls made by NBC to a number listed for the Democrat-Reporter, which has a weekly paid circulation of about 1,800, were not immediately returned.

Sutton began working for the newspaper in 1964, according to a post on the University of Southern Mississippi's website highlighting the careers of Sutton and his late wife, Jean.

They were both inducted into the school's Mass Communication and Journalism Hall of Fame in 2007. The Southern Mississippi School of Communication said Tuesday it was "taking action" to remove Sutton's name from the Hall of Fame.

"Mr. Sutton’s subsequent rebuttals and attempts at clarification only reaffirm the misguided and dangerous nature of his comments," the university said in a statement. "The School of Communication strongly condemns Mr. Sutton’s remarks as they are antithetical to all that we value as scholars of journalism, the media, and human communication."

The Alabama Press Association said "we do not agree with the opinion" but cannot police what its member newspapers print.