Protesters deny publisher’s assertion that we are “turned off by protests”

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When St. Joseph News Press Editor and Publisher David Bradley told a national broadcast audience that the people of St. Joe were “fairly well satisfied” with the first 30 days of the Trump presidency, he may not have expected a protest outside the newspaper’s offices. He told the PBS News Hour last week that we, in general “are turned off” by protests.

About 60 people turned out to protest on Monday, and Bradley came out to greet them and address their concerns. Bradley was interrupted several times, but managed to get his message out.

“They asked me to come and talk about what my feelings were about what the reaction was to Donald Trump…” Bradley said.

“He’s an idiot,” noted one of the protesters.

“Okay, well, let me talk,” Bradley continued. “Anyway, I said I thought he’d only been in office for 30 days, I said he’d said some things that I thought were probably mistaken, that he had to take back, and had to change.”

“I think we’ve got to watch his actions more than what he says,” Bradley said.

The protest sprung up on Facebook soon after the PBS broadcast last week (click here). One of the protest organizers, Marianne Kunkel, said she and others were really frustrated by what Bradley said, representing our entire town as being “fairly well satisfied.”

“He said that we, in general, as a town, were turned off by protests, and that we would prefer to sit back and relax, and take that approach towards our president’s agenda, his policies, everything he’s put forward in the first month,” Kunkel said, “and that does not represent a lot of us.”

Bradley countered asssertions that his newspaper is biased.

“The people in this area voted overwhelmingly for Trump,” Bradley said. “And we’ve run a lot of letters from people who are both for Trump and against Trump, and I’d welcome any of your comments or letters. We run columns in the paper that are for Trump and against him. There were two columns this morning that were against him, so we try to run all sides. ”

“This paper did endorse him. We thought he was a better candidate than Hillary,” Bradley said. A protester booed that comment. Bradley said “…well, that’s your opinion. The folks voted for Trump in this area and this state by 17 points, so he won overwhelmingly.”

Kunkel says this town is more diverse than that.

“It’s made up of people who do not look like Mr. Bradley, who are may feeling personally attacked by some of the things our president has tried to implement, like the travel ban, and some of the things he’s said toward women, and I would remind Mr Bradley how many women live in St. Joseph, and possibly feel personally slighted by his words,” Kunkel said.

“There are a lot of people who are nervous, and offended, and hurt,” she said, “and I think when our media represents us so thoughtlessly and homogenously, it’s dangerous.”