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Conservative newspaper receives death threats for endorsing Hillary Clinton

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks at a rally at the Colorado State Fair Grounds in Pueblo, Colorado, October 12, 2016. 

REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

The Arizona Republic newspaper is responding to some of the angry – even violent – backlash it’s received from readers after endorsing a Democratic presidential candidate for the first time in its 125-year history.

Mi-Ai Parrish, the president of the paper and its parent company, Republic Media, penned an op-ed this morning detailing some of the vitriol directed at her staff since the Editorial Board took a stand against Donald Trump. 

She stood by the board’s decision, writing, “We made it clear that his principles weren’t conservative. They were bad for the party, bad for Arizona, dangerous for America.... We knew it would be unpopular with many people. We knew that, although we had clearly stated our objections to Trump, it would be a big deal for a conservative editorial board in a conservative state to break ranks from the party.”

Still, she said some of the vicious responses left her “speechless.”

Someone phoned one of the paper’s reporters, Parrish recounted, and told her that she’d be blown up. After reporting it to the police, the reporter “walked to church and prayed for you. Prayed for patience, for forgiveness,” Parrish wrote.

The paper’s door-to-door salespeople reported getting “spit on” and “screamed at.” Readers called for the paper to be “shut down, burned down... and cease to exist under a new presidential administration.” 

“What is the correct response, really, to this?” Parrish posited. “How did I come to be hearing these threats?”

She went on to highlight the work of some of the individual reporters, editors and staff people dedicated to helping their community.

To those of you who have called us hacks and losers with no purpose, and that we are un-American, I give you Dennis. He is the investigative reporter who first revealed the despicable mistreatment of our veterans at the VA hospital. His work triggered comprehensive debate and, one hopes, lasting change. He and others on his team have been hailed as heroes by veterans’ families across the country. Dennis knows that free speech is sometimes the only way to hold the powerful accountable.

Parrish expressed gratitude to other readers “who thanked us for our courage and our bravery, or who were bold enough to disagree with us on principle — the people who didn’t threaten to bomb our homes or harm our families” even if they didn’t like what they read. 

In conclusion, she wrote:

To all of you who asked why we endorsed — or what right we had to do so — I give you my mother. She grew up under an occupying dictatorship, with no right to an education, no free press, no freedom of religion, no freedom to assemble peaceably, no right to vote. No right to free speech. She raised a journalist who understood not to take these rights for granted.

Parrish couldn’t be reached for comment by CBS News at the time of publishing.

Read the full op-ed at the Arizona Republic here.