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Alabama Media Group Condemns Senate Candidate Roy Moore


Over the weekend, Alabama's largest newspapers took the unusual step of putting an editorial across the front page of the Sunday paper. The headline - "Stand for Decency, Reject Roy Moore." Moore is the Republican Senate candidate. A series of women have said he sexually assaulted or pursued relationships with them when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s. Some of those women were under the age of consent at the time, as young as 14.

The newspapers that ran the editorial are all owned by the same company, the Alabama Media Group. Michelle Holmes is the company's vice president of content and joins us now. Welcome.


SHAPIRO: This editorial does not only urge voters to reject Roy Moore. It also endorses his Democratic opponent, Doug Jones. Take us into the room where you had the conversation about whether to take this position.

HOLMES: This was an easy decision for us to make. We believe like many, many Alabamians that decency comes first. And we have rejected Roy Moore before in editorials, and we will continue to do so.

SHAPIRO: The beginning of the editorial says it's a turning point for women in Alabama - quote, "a chance to make their voices heard in a state that has silenced them for too long." And it sounds like that goes beyond Roy Moore.

HOLMES: It does go beyond Roy Moore. Something is really cracking in America right now. And what's cracking is women who have been silent so long are ready to come forward. If this can happen in one of the reddest states in America, it can happen anywhere. By lifting these voices now, we help contribute to this broader conversation in America and this broader conversation among women that this is not OK.

SHAPIRO: Your newspapers took a similar position on Donald Trump, endorsing Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential campaign. And Alabama overwhelmingly voted for Trump. Are you out of step with the voters of your state?

HOLMES: We're not out of step with the multitudes of Alabamians who stand for decency, who stand for loving their neighbors. One out of 3 people here voted for Hillary Clinton. That's certainly not going to win any election. But in terms of the fabric of society, we are not the monolithic right-wing state that many outside of Alabama see.

SHAPIRO: Roy Moore had been running a campaign against the establishment, against the media. And some people have suggested that this editorial plays right into his narrative and will actually help him with voters. Do you think that could be the case?

HOLMES: For us, this was about right and wrong. This isn't about Roy Moore's propaganda machine. This isn't about whether his rabid base will be further enlivened by any media. Our job is to come out on what's right. And I believe that's what we've done.

SHAPIRO: There are Republicans in the state of Alabama who might not be fans of Roy Moore but say that they want the vote there to confirm a Supreme Court justice that President Trump nominates. They want the votes there to pass the GOP tax bill. What would you say to those people?

HOLMES: It's deeply disturbing that our governor will come out and say both she believes these women and she's voting for Roy Moore. At a certain point, it's incumbent upon the people of Alabama to step up and do what's right beyond politics. And we have full hope that that will happen in this election.

SHAPIRO: Michelle Holmes is the vice president of content for the Alabama Media Group. The company's three newspapers ran an editorial on the front page of the Sunday edition urging Alabama voters to reject Roy Moore for Senate. Thank you for speaking with us.

HOLMES: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.