Forum’s Apology to Church is Misguided

St. Mary's Cathedral in downtown Fargo.

Today the Fargo Forum apologized to the Catholic Church for reporting a perfectly factual story about a “pro-white” activist named Pete Tefft.

For the story, Tefft had asked to be interviewed and photographed where he says he goes to church, at St. Mary’s Cathedral in downtown Fargo. After the story ran, the Church complained that this was all done without its permission. The Church refused to say if Tefft is a member.

“We should not have conducted the interview on private church property without prior consent of the church,” wrote Editor Matt Von Pinnon in a note to readers. “We should not have included the interview setting in the story or photo, given the highly controversial subject matter.”

This is wrong on a few levels. First of all, a journalist does not need anybody’s permission to conduct an interview in a publicly accessible establishment such as: a coffee shop, bookstore, Chinese restaurant, or even a church. And the reporter should include the setting in the story if it’s relevant.

In this case, the church was a relevant part of the story. Tefft says he is a member of the church and considers it a place where he’s comfortable talking about his pro-white philosophy.

“I love St. Mary’s and the Fargo/Moorhead Catholic Diocese. It was the only place I felt safe and spiritually secure discussing Pro-white issues with the press,” he told the Forum.

It’s also worth pointing out that the church was not the main focus of the story. It was one illustrative detail.

Clearly, the church is an important part of Tefft’s life. Church officials might not like the fact that a “pro-white” activist is their number one fan, but that’s too bad.

Church officials should spend less time scapegoating the Forum and more time analyzing why a “pro-white” activist says he feels so welcome at their cathedral.

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