Verbal attacks and widespread threats against the president have become increasingly more common, but what is even more troubling is the way such threats and messages have found outlets outside the realm of social media.
Magazines, newspapers and even controversial TV spots have all allowed for disconcerting messages to be given the type of platform that legitimizes their messages—even when that message is to kill the president.
So was the case with one Pennsylvania newspaper that issued an apology on Thursday for publishing a letter that encouraged the execution of President Obama. Readers of the Daily Item caught sight of the letter and were shocked to see the newspaper decided to publish the letter to the editor. Among the troubling statement’s made in the letter, the writer encouraged the nation to rise up against the president using the same tactics that have been used throughout history.
“I think the appropriate, and politically correct, term is regime change,” the letter read, according to The Guardian. “Forgive me for being blunt, but throughout history this has previously been accompanied by execution by guillotine, firing squad, public hanging. I have absolutely no reason to expect that current practice should be any different.”
The newspaper apologized for not deleting those paragraphs from the letter before they published it, insisting that when they initially read the letter “no bells went off.”
An apology was published as an editorial in the same paper with the headline, “We bungled the Obama attack letter.”
“We did something we shouldn’t have and the readers who called us on it deserve accountability,” the editorial read.
Editors apologized for their “failure to catch and remove the inappropriate paragraphs in the letter directed as President Obama” and added that staff will “strive to do better in the future.”
Unfortunately, the letter calling for the president’s death and a national uprising is far from the most threatening thing Obama has had to experience. Last year an unidentified Palestinian reportedly encouraged Adam Everett Livix, who was living in the West Bank at the time, to assassinate the president.
In 2013, a letter laced with ricin was sent to the president in addition to other government officials.
The threats against the president also come during a time when racially charged remarks have been aimed at the Obama family since they first stepped foot in the White House.