Saturday, May 30, 2009

Paper runs ad calling for assassination, apologizes

A small daily newspaper in rural northwestern Pennsylvania has apologized for a classified advertisement that implicitly called for the assassination of President Barack Obama and says it is assisting the Secret Service investigation of the person who placed the ad.

The ad in the personals section of the Warren Times Observer's classifieds read, "May Obama follow in the footsteps of Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley and Kennedy!" Those are the four presidents who were assassinated, but the newspaper reported, "The ad representative didn't make the connection. . . . Upon realizing the mistake early Thursday morning, the ad was immediately discontinued and the identity of the person who placed the ad was turned over to Warren City Police as per newspaper policy." The short short story ended with the apology.

The 10,000-circulation paper reported in a slightly longer story yesterday that a Secret Service representative was in town "to investigate the circumstances surrounding the placement" of the ad, and interviewed the person who took the ad and Publisher John Elchert. The service "requested that the paper not publicly reveal the name of that person because it would hamper their investigation," the paper reported. "The Times Observer, in an effort to cooperate with those law enforcement officials, is honoring that request. It has also been the long-standing policy of this newspaper not to publish the names of people who are under investigation, but have not been either charged with a crime or named in criminal indictment." The paper is owned by Ogden Newspapers of Wheeling, W.Va.

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