When I stepped into the offices of The Democrat-Reporter in Linden, Ala., I was stepping into enemy territory. I was the newly appointed editor and publisher of The Demopolis Times, a larger newspaper about 15 miles north of Linden.
Goodloe Sutton was the owner and publisher of The Democrat-Reporter, which was my only local competition, so I wanted to meet him and establish a friendly relationship. My paper was far more successful than his, enough that his paper wasn’t really competition for the readers and advertisers we targeted.
I asked for Sutton and explained who I was. The person at the front to whom I introduced myself looked startled and went to another office.
“I don’t want to talk to anybody from the Demopolis Times,” I heard a belligerent voice bellow from the back a few moments later. As the woman walked back toward me, he called after her, “And tell him not to come back.”
That was my one and only interaction with the strange man who has lately achieved national notoriety for his bizarre editorials calling for the Ku Klux Klan to “clean out” politicians in Washington, D.C.