Earlier this week, after Smiths Station Mayor F.L. "Bubba" Copeland tragically took his own life after a series of stories from 1819 News regarding an apparent secret double life, Alabama Political Reporter (APR) editor-in-chief Bill Britt took to the pages of his website to condemn 1819 News.
According to Britt, 1819 News crossed a "sacred line," and Copeland's activities, showcased in photos that Copeland voluntarily posted to Reddit, a public website, were "not the purview of a news organization."
However, in 2018, Britt took the opposite approach with an article he authored regarding Poarch Band of Creek Indians vice chairman Robbie McGhee.
The since-recently deleted article that was still on Britt's website as of last week before the Copeland tragedy is still available on the Internet Archive's "Wayback Machine" and showed McGhee shirtless with a drag queen, reportedly at a nightclub in New Orleans.
During the June 3, 2018 episode of APR's "The V," the long-running TV show Britt co-hosts with his wife Susan, he discussed the article, which he apparently deemed newsworthy at the time.
"Charlie, this week, we had to publish an article in which Poarch Creek Indian vice chair Robbie McGhee is on stage in New Orleans with his shirt off and he looks to be engaged in a dance with a night club entertainer some commonly call a drag queen, where she is fondling his chest. PCI has said he was just enjoying a vacation, and that very well may be true," he said. "But what happened was we got this picture. There is also a video from tribal members who were sick and tired, they say, were sick and tired of the Poarch Creek tribal elders ignoring Robbie McGhee's behavior when he is the face of the tribe in D.C. and here."
Panelist Charlie Walker, who has been outspoken with her views on social media regarding Copeland's passing, proclaimed at the time she was not a judge of anybody's lifestyle but emphasized the need to represent the morals one claims.
Why is a reporter from @ALReporter going on to local citizens Facebook pages, bullying them and cussing them? It’s not enough that our mayor was a predator but now you’re going to blame the victims for his death?? pic.twitter.com/N7IEqtfeqN— John Paul Jones (@ShaneCo84590025) November 6, 2023
"Exactly, that was my issue with it," Walker replied. "I, in no way, judge anybody's lifestyle or what they do in their free time. That's fine. But if you're going to represent the morals you claim to have, that's what matters."
During the segment, Bill Britt went on to lament the criticism he received for the article. Susan Britt, in the McGhee case, claimed one must "behave accordingly" if representative of the people.
"Look Susan, they do tout being family-friendly," Bill Britt continued. "You go to their casinos. They've got all this stuff for kids and all that. And look, the guy may not have been doing anything wrong but when you're in that kind of position, that is generally not something you do. Instead of saying that, what they did is they attacked APR. They attacked me personally. They even suggested that I go to one of these places and have some fun."
"They did," Susan Britt responded. "And I'm sorry, but when you're representing people, even — and I've talked to Charlie about this — when you're representing people that are on this show and in the public, you must behave accordingly because you're representative of the people. People are going to look at you and whatever you see that you're doing, they're going to think applies to the whole."
For the remainder of the segment, Britt's panel warned McGhee's lifestyle threatened socially conservative Republican candidates, given those Republican candidates were accepting campaign contributions from the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.
Despite its liberal-progressive left-wing lean, APR's website often features advertising from taxpayer-funded state agencies and other entities, including the Business Council of Alabama, that carry considerable influence in state government.
Jeff Poor is the editor in chief of 1819 News and host of "The Jeff Poor Show," heard Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-noon on Mobile's FM Talk 106.5. To connect or comment, email [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @jeff_poor.
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