North America

Tennessee newspaper apologises for 'utterly indefensible' anti-muslim ad

Source: Twitter: Alex Martin Smith

The full-page advertisement said the Trump presidency is part of a prophecy and claimed "Islam" would detonate a "nuclear device" in the city of Nashville.

The Tennessean newspaper in Nashville is investigating how it came to publish a full-page ad Sunday by a biblical prophecy group claiming “Islam” would detonate a bomb in the city.

The ad, which included a photo collage of President Donald Trump, Pope Francis and burning American flags, urged readers to visit a website offering more details.

The ad was credited to the group Ministry of Future for America, which says its mission is to “proclaim the final warning message” from the Bible.

Addressed to “Dear Citizen of Nashville,” the eight-paragraph ad spanned the full length of the newspaper page and discussed Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Democratic Party and the September 11 terrorism attacks.

It claimed Mr Trump’s presidency was part of a prophecy, warned of “another civil war” and said that “Islam is going to detonate a nuclear device” in Nashville.

“Clearly there was a breakdown in the normal processes, which call for careful scrutiny of our advertising content,” Michael Anastasi, the newspaper’s vice president and editor, said in the paper’s news coverage of the ad.

“The ad is horrific and is utterly indefensible in all circumstances. It is wrong, period, and should have never been published.”

The Tennessean reported that Sunday’s ad “was immediately ordered to be pulled from future editions by sales executives and the investigation launched.”

It said a similar ad, “one that did not mention Islam but also contained an end-times prophecy,” was published on Wednesday.

The Tennessean said its advertising standards forbid hate speech, and ads that do not meet its requirements are “routinely rejected for publication.”

Like most other news organisations, The Tennessean’s sales team and newsroom operate independently.

Ryan Kedzierski, vice president of sales for Middle Tennessee, said, “We are extremely apologetic to the community that the advertisement was able to get through, and we are reviewing internally why and how this occurred, and we will be taking actions immediately to correct.”

Gannett, which owns the paper, referred a request for comment to the newspaper’s coverage.

Jeff Pippenger, who identified himself as the speaker of the Ministry of Future for America, said the newspaper owed the group a full refund. He could not say how much the ad cost.

“I stand by all the content in the ad and the content in the website,” he said.

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