To The Editor:
I am writing concerning the Washington Missourian’s publication of a racist cartoon in its Wednesday edition, and the ensuing controversy that has roiled the newspaper and its ownership.
The cartoon was offensive, insensitive and demeaning. It should never have been considered for publication. Printing it may have been the worst editorial decision the publisher, Bill Miller, Sr., ever made. But he decided to run it, and the newspaper now faces anger and protests.
The cartoon has caused the paper’s top leadership to resign. First, The Missourian’s co-owners, daughters of the publisher, apologized to readers and resigned in protest. Then Miller apologized. Admitting to readers the decision was in poor judgment, he stepped down, ending a 67-year career.
The Miller family has owned and published The Missourian since the 1930s. During that time, it has served its readers well. The Missourian devotes much more staff energy and newsprint to covering its community than most weekly newspapers. The staff and leadership have been recognized for journalistic excellence many times over the years.
Bill Miller, Sr., has also served the community well. For years, Miller has served as a director on the boards of the local hospital and economic development agency, working to attract businesses and jobs to Washington and Franklin County.
Publishing that cartoon was a terrible decision. But as a former newspaper editor, I know how many decisions an editor makes in the course of a day, a week, a year. And I hate to see an editor’s 67-year career judged by his worst decision.
I understand and respect the anger aimed atMiller and The Missourian. I don’t blame people for being angry. But I do hope that at some point the community can find some compassion for Bill Miller, Sr. — and some appreciation for nearly a century of service by the Miller family-owned Missourian.
Missouri School of