There are lots of ways to write a story about a controversial speaker coming to your town.
Go to the event. Quote the speaker. Talk to the counter-protesters. Get some background on the speaker and mix it together into a well-written piece.
HATE SPEECH LEADER INVITED TO BISMARCK
FARGO – A Bismarck pastor opened the city’s arms to one of the world’s leading “Alt-right” hate groups Saturday after inviting Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, an Austrian anti-Muslim activist, to speak.
Reverend John Boustead of Solomon’s Rest in Bismarck, and his organization, called For Our Children.care, invited Wolff to speak on her belief that Sharia law is determined to end First Amendment rights in America.
So, past tense. Don’t know about you, but I’m itching to find out what happened at the event. Actually, I still am.
The rest of the article is about either the speaker’s affiliations, or about the counter-protest.
Wolff, known as a Viennese housewife and anti-Jihad activist, paid fines after being convicted of hate speech against Muslims and “denigrating religious beliefs” in her home country, Austria, in 2011.
Remember how we follow the hate speech laws so closely in other countries? Yeah. That’s why.
Wolff is also known for using conspiracy theories and fear-mongering tactics, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, frequently saying Muslims, backed by liberals, are responsible for infiltrating all levels of world governments and militaries. She has also called the prophet Mohammed a pedophile, according to the Austrian Independent.
The SLPC has a list of hate groups, and I admit, some are quite hatey. Others are just folks who are more conservative than the SLPC can tolerate. Oh, I’ll reserve judgement on the question of whether Mohammed was a pedophile. His wife was very young.
The pastor who made the invitation gets smeared, too.
The reverend also says he only recognizes the U.S. Constitution’s jurisdictions within the nation and North Dakota. “Any foreign legal systems or forms of government will not be acknowledged, recognized, or allowed power in the United States or North Dakota. This includes the United Nations, Communism, or Islamic Sharia Law.”
So, how unreasonable is that? Do you think that foreign legal systems have jurisdiction over North Dakota, your state or the rest of the United States? Is Islamic Sharia Law actually the law in the U.S.?
The rest of the article is about the counter-protest. Eight paragraphs. Lots of quotes.
I used to write news, and sometimes the radio station where I work asks me to fill in. I consider it important not to slant those news stories toward my views — which line up pretty well with famous radicals like Teddy Roosevelt, John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. If I wrote the article, I would have gone to the event.