A Georgia paper has hit the bullseye of controversy. This photo is the cover of the Roswell Beacon, teasing a piece about the rising activity level of white supremacist groups surrounding the possible nomination of Barack Obama. The story itself is a little tangly — it's hard to determine whether the criticisms that the story doesn't warrant such an inflammatory image are justified.
The editor says of the cover choice, "we knew we were on the provocative edge. But it's a very fair piece, a smart piece." The article was written by a freelance journalist who was curious how law enforcement agencies were handling the increased number of threats lodged against Obama by white supremacist groups, some of whom were local. Some of the details in the piece are surprising, like this from one of the interviews:
Some idiot out there’s going to put a bullet in that silver-tongued devil, and then there’ll be a race war. There are some in our movement who are preparing for war, [even] praying for it.
The paper might have had good intentions behind the cover. The editor is pleased that the controversy has "projected the story. We're hoping federal law enforcement takes notice." He calls it a valuable public service. It might be? Georgia has 42 active white power cells, ranking fourth in the country behind California, Texas, and South Carolina.
Did the story justify the cover? Is the image offensive regardless of the potential good intentions behind it? Would an Obama nomination incite white supremacists to violence?