Opinion: Those Who Shall Not Be NamedThere has been talk that a hate group with a pattern of disrupting the funerals of servicemen and servicewomen may make an appearance at the funeral of Michael DeMarsico on Saturday.
iBerkshires has determined that it will not name this group, it will not photograph this group, it will not interview this group, should it appear, and it will not tweet about this group.
We will not allow this group to use us to further its mission or promote its website through search engines. Our colleagues may argue that this is news and should be covered. That is their decision to make.
This extended family preaching a message of intolerance seems to have a pattern of announcing protests, getting everyone in a tizzy and then not showing up. Last fall, they threatened to protest at the funeral of a Plymouth soldier killed in Afghanistan. They didn't appear, but did get news articles "explaining" their views and an explosion of social media centered on them.
That's a pretty good PR strategy. We're not falling for it.
If these people arrive, and usually it's just a few, what's the newsworthiness in interviewing them? Because they're holding signs? Because they're near a funeral? Because they're upsetting people on an emotional day? What will they say or do that will be different from what they've said or done a hundred times before?
It makes for a "hot" story but we're not all about the clicks. We cover Berkshire County, and the things important to the people of Berkshire County. And based on the incredible turnout on Wednesday, what the family of Michael DeMarsico is going through is important to Berkshire County. Burying North Adams' native son with respect is important to Berkshire County.
Those people are not.
The group has every right to protest; we strongly support its First Amendment Right to speak out, however distasteful. But it seeks coverage; it lives on grief and controversy and anger. We would prefer not to feed it. That is our right.
We would ask that people posting through Facebook also not use their name. We do not want it to be found on our website.