In Knoxville, Tennessee, a family who owns two stores noticed a trend that wasn’t working well for them and decided to shut down one of their retail locations because of it. As they prepared to do so, they created a simple newspaper ad to address the issue, but they chose to use one word that others found to be offensive, and it resulted in much more than the owners expected 48-hours later.
Lois McGinnis and her family are the proud owners of two bookstores, which have been in business for some time, but the local economy made them decide to close one store and focus all operations on their busier location. In hopes to liquidate everything within the closing location, Lois created a specific ad to be placed in the paper, spelling out exactly what they were doing, but she got some bad news the next day. It was all because of one word which an editor at the News Sentinel took big issue with.
The owners placed the ad and paid in full for it on July 26. They were told it would appear in the paper on July 28. What Lois wrote and wanted to be advertised was seemingly approved, having not heard any negative feedback after sending in her description and paying the fee. So, when she checked the paper on the promised publish date, she was shocked at what she saw.
Fox News reported that Lois simply stated that this particular location of the Cedar Springs Christian Store was closing and that everything inside must go. “Store closing sale – Cedar Springs Christian Store – Clinton Highway location – All merchandise, fixtures, slat walls must go. Sale through August 13, phone 865.947.XXX,” was all her ad read, but it wasn’t printed when she checked the paper on the 28th.
Concerned that there was a mistake, Lois called the paper and asked an employee about it, who told her it wasn’t an oversight. The paper didn’t run the ad because she used an “offensive” word. When asked what word wasn’t permitted, the employee informed her that “Christian,” which was in the business name, was not acceptable for the paper.
“We had no way of knowing they considered the word ‘Christian’ offensive until we tried to place this ad,” Lois said. The paper was quick to take her payment and made no mention of the “offensive” word upon ad submission, and when told it wasn’t going to run, there was also no mention of a refund.
Shocked, the owner took to social media to ask others in the community if they think the word “Christian” is offensive, and she got an overwhelming response. Having explained what happened with the ad, the church-going folks of East Tennessee didn’t appreciate the paper making such a biased decision and lit up the publication with droves of phone calls.
Their complaints were heard loud and clear, and management at News Sentinel was quick to make excuses for the ridiculous decision, referring to it as everything from a “front-end error” to an unfortunate “misunderstanding.” However, there was no communication barrier. This was an instruction the employee had to have been given and they were just following orders. The only thing the publication was sorry for was the backlash they received and being called out on their gross double-standard.
Words/descriptions like Islamic, Muslims, Black Lives Matter, and hate-groups are permissible to use when spoken of in a positive context, and Christianity and other terms to describe the moral fiber this country was built on are now considered to be “offensive.” This is a symptom of how far our nation has devolved under two terms of Barack Obama and will continue to deteriorate if Hillary Clinton is ushered into office.