I have been an avid reader of Mountain Xpress (and Green Line before it) since the beginning. I have watched your staff struggle with issues of journalistic ethics. While I haven't always agreed with your decisions, I have always respected the openness with which you grapple with what are often complex problems. The latest controversy, involving the arrest of one of your writers, Nelda Holder, at a protest in Raleigh, is another example of a question to which there are several answers (Visit http://avl.mx/u6 for the story).
Unfortunately, I believe our state is in the midst of a civil war. The Republican governor (hand-picked by billionaire Art Pope) and the state Legislature, many of whose members were financed by Mr. Pope, want to turn back the clock in North Carolina and return us to the days of racial injustice, gender inequality and domination of everything political by those with most of the money. They even considered adapting Christianity as the official state religion.
Ms. Holder, who has had the task of covering much of this assault, obviously reached a point, personally, when she could no longer remain just a reporter of events and issues. Without appearing hyperbolic, I would liken the present situation to the early days of the Civil Rights movement, when people of conscience and extreme bravery stood up publicly for what was right.
I applaud Ms. Holder for her action. She is clearly prepared to face the consequences, but I would hope Xpress will decide to let her continue her work for the paper. Clearly, the dominant Republican faction in our state will not rest until they have stripped our universities of resources, made voting a limited privilege, forced gays and lesbians back into the closet, and on and on.
Those of us who cherish a truly civil society can't accept it either. I don't believe Ms. Holder has lost the trust of your readers. I believe she has gained even more of our respect.
— Paul Gurewitz