Oops! Florida paper publishes then later deletes op-ed by a Proud Boy’s wife praising them

Image of Proud Boys rally
Canada has lebelled the Proud Boys a terrorist organization.

It was a litle surprising that the Herald-Tribune in Sarasota, Florida published an op-ed last Sunday praising the Proud Boys.

The Proud Boys have been designated a terrorist group in at least two other countries – Canada and New Zealand. New York lawmakers describe them as a “racist, neo-fascist” group that promotes “white nationalist, neofascist rhetoric,” and “racist, misogynistic, antisemitic and anti-LGBTQ bigotry.”

Back in 2018, it was reported that a document from the Clark County sheriff’s office in Washington stated that “the FBI has designated the far-right “Proud Boys” as an “extremist group with ties to white nationalism.” That year, the Sutern Poverty Law Center Southern Poverty Law Center elevated the Proud Boys to an official hate group.

Photo of Former Clark County deputy Erin Wiley
Pictured here is former Clark County deputy Erin Wiley. one such Proud Boys Girl, shown here in her PBG sweatshirt shortly before being fired. (Photo courtesy the Columbian)

The writer of the op-ed described herself in glowing terms as “a patriot,” a “God-fearing Christ follower,” and the “wife of a man who defends his family and their freedoms.” As it turns out, though, the woman is married to a Proud Boy. Wait, does that make her a Proud Boys Girl?  She didn’t mention that in her opinion piece.

Whatever she is, though, she’s committed to the “cause.”  

“I am simply a mom who will do what is best for my kids. If I have to speak at School Board meetings, fine. If I have to deal with smear campaigns, so be it. My passion will not be stifled, and my stance will not waver. I am for God, family and freedom – no matter what.”

She sounds like a great humanitarian, wrapped as she is in the flag, the Bible, love of family and liberty.  Unfortnately, many people who consider themselves patriots believe is America is for them and no one else.  They believe that God made them better than eveyone else– as a group, and that their families are entitled to all the benefits of citizenship and the freedom that flows from the promise of America.  

Certainly, the Proud Boys believe that– which makes it surprising that the Herald-Tribune would take on the job of publishing her op-eds.  

It seems Radovich wrote another op-ed a few weeks ago, which the Herald-Tribune also published, which made clear her relationship to the movement– Proud Boy Nicholas Radovich, and his wife, Melissa Radovich were clearly named.  And her most recent op-ed– “Attacking Proud Boys does a disservice to caring school parents” —  is written under her name, Melissa Radovich.

She writes that the Proud Boys are “fathers, business owners and veterans [who] have spoken at many School Board meetings. They are concerned about the direction that their local schools are heading in, and I commend them for coming to School Board meetings.”

Me, too. It’ a civic responsibility more parents should undertake.

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What she dos not do, though, is talk about the Proud Boys’ philosophy, or about why in 2018 the FBI categorized the Proud Boys as an extremist organization with ties to white nationalism. She doesn’t mention what interests the Proud Boys daddies were advancing at those meetings. Wonder why not. So the viewing public is left with a lop-sided, biased view of these extremists.

Radovich has a right to stand by her man, and a right to believe whatever she believes. With Proud Boys leaders under indictment on charges of seditious conspiracy in the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, and a hearing coming up, it’s easy to understand that Radovich would want to sway public opinion in favor of these “fine, upstanding, patriotic Christian men.” But dressing up the Proud Boys in emperor’s clothing is a little like calling the pandemic a hoax– and that’s just good old fashioned disinformation at its best.

In point of fact, the Herald-Tribune also has a right to print whatever it wants. But it’s a question of editorial standards. Don’t say you have them if you don’t.

Yeah, they took the second one down. And issued a public apology written by Jennifer Orsi, the paper’s executive editor, saying that publishing the column was “antithetical to our values as an organization and . . . outside of our responsibility to provide a fair forum for different points of view.” 

Publishing two Radovich pieces raises a valid question or two. Sounds like someone in editorial may be an Erin Wiley in disguise, but I’m good with the apology for now. I trust it was sincere. But I’m staying ‘woke.’