“In 1994, von Brunn was upset that The Star Democrat of Easton wouldn’t run an advertisement for an anti-Semitic program on a public-access channel, recalled executive editor Denise Riley.” – Associated Press story
I’m the guy who flagged that ad, 15 years before von Brunn shot up the Holocaust Museum. Here’s the story:
In 1994 I was working at The Star Democrat as Entertainment Editor during the week, and on Saturday nights I was the Wire Editor, second in command to the Sunday Editor, who handled the front page and local news while I handled the Nation, World and Maryland pages with copy from the Associated Press. In those days, pages were composed manually, with stories and ads being pasted up in the Composition room, and we’d go back there to proofread pages and sign off on them before they went to press.
Our job was to check our own and each other’s stories, headlines, photos, etc., not the ads. But there was an ad on one of the pages that caught my eye — it was for a video about the Holocaust, with an address you could write to and get a copy of the video. It didn’t explicitly say the Holocaust never happened, but it was clear to me from the wording of the ad that it was making that claim.
I went to the Sunday Editor (a crusty, curmudgeonly guy named Dick Billman, who might not have had a fifth of Jim Beam in a desk drawer but otherwise perfectly fit the stereotype of the old-school journalist — he was awesome), and asked him to take a look at the ad. “Do we have a policy on this sort of thing?” I asked him. “Do we run ads like this?”
He took a look at it, and decided we should just yank it off the page (this was around 11 p.m. on a Saturday night), rather than try to call someone to get approval. So we pulled the ad, stuck it to a piece of paper and left a note for the executive editor explaining what we did.
Apparently some short time later, the guy who tried to run the ad also tried to get the video aired on the local cable system, and the executive editor assigned a reporter to find out who this idiot was. Here’s his story.
And here’s another account by The Star Democrat’s news editor, who interviewed the main players in the confrontational interview with von Brunn that turned into a scuffle that led to his ejection from the building.
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