The Tennessean has found themselves in hot water on social media and apologizing following a paid advertisement in their newspaper promising Islam will drop a nuclear bomb on the city of Nashville on July 18.
“Dear citizens of Nashville,” the full-page ad read. “We are under conviction to not tell you but provide evidence that on July 18, 2020, Islam is going to detonate a nuclear device in Nashville, Tennessee.”
Included above the text is an image of President Donald Trump and Pope Francis with burning US flags behind them. In small print above the image is the label “paid advertisement.”
The text is signed “The Ministry of Future for America” and readers are directed to go to www.july18.news, a site “dedicated to identifying” the upcoming July 18 nuclear attack, which they say through posts is based on “prophetic revelations from the Bible.”
This morning, the Nashville @Tennessean — the largest newspaper in the state — published a full-page ad from a far-right client warning “Islam is going to detonate a nuclear device in Nashville, Tennessee.” It’s accompanied by photos of Donald Trump and Pope Francis. pic.twitter.com/9vvUbteSIh
— Alex Martin Smith (@asmiff) June 21, 2020
Many screenshots of the extreme ad were uploaded to social media where some quickly went viral, with users expressing outrage at the idea of a newspaper printing the ad next to real news and calling for boycotts against the paper, as well as saying they may be inciting violence against Muslim citizens.
Outrageous that the @Tennessean would accept this. I’m sure they’re hard up for money, but this is beyond irresponsible. This is reason enough to cancel my subscription.
— Callie Khouri (@CallieKhouri) June 21, 2020
After thousands of tweets, the Tennessean responded to criticisms by releasing a statement apologizing for the advertisement and promising they are “investigating how a paid advertisement from a fringe religious group was published on Sunday in violation of the newspaper’s long-established standards.”
The statement calls the ad “bizarre” and admitted it was “hate speech.”
The company’s editor and vice president, Michael A. Anastasi, said it should not have been approved and its publication is proof of a “breakdown in the normal processes.”
“It is wrong, period,” he said, “and it should have never been published.”
The newspaper’s investigation into the breakdown of its own processes has not earned much confidence back as many mocked the internal probe and questioned the paper approving such an ad.
Reporters from the newspaper also took to Twitter to distance themselves from the Tennessean’s decision to run the ad.
Like many of you, I am appalled by the reprehensible ad that published today. As a reporter, I have no involvement in advertisements and learn about them when they publish, like readers do. As a Nashvillian, I want an explanation.
— Brett Kelman (@BrettKelman) June 21, 2020
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