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Monday, November 6, 2023
MRC Alum Runs Website That Drove A Man To Suicide
Topic: Media Research Center

Last week, F.L. "Bubba" Copeland, the mayor of Smiths Station, Ala., and the pastor at a nearby Baptist church, committed suicide after 1819 News -- a right-wing website created under the aegis of the similarly right-wing Alabama Policy Institute but made an independent entity earlier this year -- published photos of his "secret life" as a cross-dressing alter ego. Copeland tried to fight back, insisting that "What I do in private life has nothing to do with what I do in my holy life," but he ultimately died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound during a police welfare check.

The editor-in-chief of 1819 News is Jeff Poor, an alumnus of the Media Research Center who wrote for the MRC's Business & Media Institute until departing in 2010. Poor kicked around other right-wing outlets after that, working for the Daily Caller and Breitbart and ultimately returning to his native Alabama to do a radio show. He joined 1819 News in 2021, serving as political editor and executive editor before being named editor-in-chief earlier this year.

Since Copeland's suicide, 1819 News has been shamefully silent, publishing only a short article noting his death and laughably adding, "Our prayers are with the residents of Smiths Station, the parishioners of First Baptist Church of Phenix City and Copeland's family." Beyond that, the website has done nothing else and refuses to talk to other media outlets looking into the story, and Poor has walled off his Twitter feed, restricting addess to "approved followers."Bryan Dawson, president and CEO of 1819 News, has been silent on the controversy on his Twitter feed; John Monger, the 1819 reporter who wrote the hit job on  Copeland, served up a tone-deaf defense on his Twitter feed: "'Digging up someone’s personal life' is reporting on what someone posts publicly on social media? Interesting take. The Alabama Baptist reported on the church’s live stream. I actually spoke to the mayor."

The MRC, for its part, has been completely silent on the controversy; even chief transphobe Tierin-Rose Mandelburg, who would normally be celebrating the death of a cross-dresser, has remained mute. We suspect that the MRC is not exactly eager to claim an alum who drove a man to suicide.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:39 PM EST
Updated: Monday, November 6, 2023 1:52 PM EST

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