Tom Burford of small-town MN paper says Muslims don't value human life like Christians

Categories: Media
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The Bagley Farmers Independent
Tom Burford sees military intervention in Syria as an extension of the religious warfare that the United States has been fighting in the Middle East for the last 10 years.

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He edits the the weekly Bagley Farmers Independent and, earlier this month, published an opinion piece entitled "Thoughts about Syria" cautioning his northwest Minnesota readers on theological grounds. (A scanned copy of a single paragraph from that article is shown above.)

Carl Sewall, the news director of RP Broadcasting in nearby Bemidji, tipped off Jim Romenesko, who published part of the article Wednesday on his media blog.

Burford is of course entitled to his opinion. What bothered Sewall was that the article ran on a news page without indication that what the reader was getting was an opinion. It appeared above another opinion piece but below two straight news stories.

"There's nothing in (the paper) that distinguishes editorial content, opinion content, news content," he said. "It's just not organized like that, like you'd expect a newspaper to do."

The headline and editor's byline should have been enough of a trigger for the reader, Burford said. Still, he put the little essay on page nine of the paper because page eight, which is entirely dedicated to commentary, had filled up.

"It's fairly logical," he said of anyone who looks at the previous page.

Naturally, the article says much about Burford's worldview. But the way his words were broadcast to a national level also reveals a clash of journalistic values in northwest Minnesota and beyond.

Burford conceded that the BFI is somewhat of a throwback to the partisan papers that were prevalent in the early days of the country.

The idea of objectivity in journalism was not developed as we know it until the early 20th century. Some historians see the rise of impartial reporting as an product of economic and historical circumstances. The Economist has noted:
Journalists agreed not to alienate anyone so that advertisers could aim their messages at everyone. That way the publishers got a broader market and the journalists got steady jobs but gave up their voices.
Burford said he writes for his market, which is primarily conservative and Christian, adding, "We don't have a lot of immigrants except for third generation."

Wednesday wasn't the first time that one of his articles wound up on Romenesko.

In March, BFI reprinted an article about EPA regulations, which was originally printed in Processing Magazine in February:

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The Bagley Farmers Independent

That article, however, was clearly presented on a page titled "Commentary."

-- Email Jesse Marx at jmarx@citypages.com or follow him on Twitter at @marxjesse
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18 comments
lindaannthomas
lindaannthomas

When Muslim writings not only allow, but encourage and offer rewards for the killing of other humans (anyone who doesn't believe like they do), I think it is fair to say they do not value human life in the same way Christians do.  Do you have any evidence that they do value human life the same as Christians?

kenwms60
kenwms60

"If I could conceive that the general government might ever be so administered as to render the liberty of conscience insecure, I beg you will be persuaded, that no one will be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution." - George Washington, letter to the United Baptist Chamber of Virginia, May 1789

kenwms60
kenwms60

"We should begin by setting conscience free.  When all men of all religions shall enjoy equal liberty, property, and a equal chance for honors and power we may expect that improvements will be made in the human character and state of society." - John Adams, "A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America", (1787-88)

kenwms60
kenwms60

"Christianity, neither is, no ever was a part of common law." - Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, Feb 10, 1814

Sammy L Cater
Sammy L Cater

good for him for knowing and spreading the word muslims are evil

123sss321
123sss321

you lefties should go to saudi arabia and witness the stoning of a woman and then report back on how great they are.

Arkadi
Arkadi

"Still, he put the little essay on page nine of the paper because page eight, which is entirely dedicated to commentary, had filled up."

Okay, so you've got over an entire newspaper page of commentary to choose from. So pick and choose instead of cramming the eugenics article in. This is how newspaper layout design WORKS.

maximumsp
maximumsp

What is the phone# for the office there. Lets call and voice waht we think about his writing. I want him fired.

Jon Marchand
Jon Marchand

My little hometown paper never used to be so intentionally inflammatory until this clown took over in the early 90s. It was a charming small town publication interested in keeping neighbors connected to each other. Now it's a pathetic attempt to incite people. Burford ruined that paper.

Charlie Seto
Charlie Seto

"The Irish do not value anything like we Protestants do, them and their popes" ~racism in the 18th century

Eduardo Gallegos Parra
Eduardo Gallegos Parra

This guy is a joke a real joke. Meanwhile SOME Christians promote bombs away mentality, kill kill kill the heathens in the Middle East. This Talibangelical mentality is exactly like the Taliban radical Muslim.

mohanlon3
mohanlon3

@123sss321 I don't need to go to Saudi Arabia, we have folks right here in 'Murica performing abominations on women for religious reasons ALL THE TIME.  And they are christian.  Take your blinders off and note that no-one group of people has a monopoly on evil.

kenwms60
kenwms60

@Eduardo Gallegos Parra right on brother!

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