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Letter to the Editor

Rainsford: EdgefieldDaily.com Editor "racist", a fake, and "un-Christian"

Delivers scathing rebuke on day of funeral of family matriarch's burial

web posted January 16, 2009
Dear Editor:
I begin this letter by expressing my condolences to you and your family on the death of Mrs. Adams.  Although I never had the opportunity to know her, I am sure that she was a fine woman.  I have had the occasion to come to know one of her grandsons fairly well, and if he were her only legacy, it is a good one.

Secondly, I congratulate you on Edgefield Daily.  I was in the local newspaper business for eighteen years and therefore consider myself a fairly knowledgeable observer of the industry.  I believe that the future of local newspapers lies entirely in on-line publications.  Not only does such a publication allow you to publish daily – or even hourly – but it also has the advantage of eliminating the two most expensive elements of newspaper production: printing and distribution.  I have no doubt that as the years go by very few local newspapers will continue in the traditional printed format.  What you have created, has the potential to be a very useful organ for our County and a very valuable asset for you.

However, I must say that I am very disappointed in your “Wandering Minds” column.  The way you operate this part of Edgefield Daily is truly a cancer on our County.  Yes, certainly you and other readers would expect me to say this, given the inordinate attention which I have received in Wandering Minds in recent weeks.  The incredible, venomous, hate-filled and libelous things which are said about me in there every day are amazing.

It is very clear to me and to many others that you – and you alone – are the author of the majority of the Wandering Minds comments.  I used to think that you were responsible for 90% of the postings.  However, in recent weeks, by careful analysis of the content and style, I have concluded that you are probably not responsible for more than 60% of these postings, and that you have one, or maybe two, warped cronies who are responsible for 30%.  As for the rest who would write ugly and hateful things in Wandering Minds under the cloak of anonymity, they are despicable cowards who don’t have the courage to stand behind their words.  They should be ashamed of themselves.

You have repeatedly accused me of using intimidation to control the Town and County Councils and other public bodies on issues before them – all for my own evil ends.  I don’t think that I have ever done that, and I don’t think that you can name a single instance where I have.  In almost every case when I have promoted or supported an idea before these public bodies, it has been for the benefit of the public and not for me personally.  When my efforts are successful in bringing people to the decision that I thought they should make, it is not because anyone is fearful of me – it is not because of any threat of retaliation or retribution from me, but rather because logic has carried the day:  the people have realized the merits of the idea and have realized that my motives are not selfish.

I have no objections to debating the merit of any issue with you.  That is fair game and the public will benefit from such debates.  In fact, I enjoy such debates and will be glad to take you on anytime.  What I object to is that each time you have disagreed with an idea of mine, you have simultaneously unleashed a torrent of personal and libelous invective against me in Wandering Minds.  It cuts on like a light and cuts off equally quickly when you have given up the fight.

For example, after the recent Edgefield County School Board Meeting which capped off unanimous votes of the Economic Development Committee, the County Council, the School Board and the Legislative Delegation supporting my idea on taxes on generating facilities (and opposing yours), you apparently decided that you would look foolish to continue your opposition to that proposal and thus my name ceased to appear in Wandering Minds for nearly two whole weeks!  Amazing!

More recently, when Mr. Brite appeared before County Council to voice his complaints about me and Mount Vintage, you jumped at the chance to reenergize your Wandering Minds campaign against me.  Boy, are you good at it!  You have amazed even me with the breadth and depth of your malignant invective!  If your readers were to believe you, I am the devil incarnate and the source of all evil in this County.

I have been around a long time, fought many battles and suffered through tougher persecutions than you can dish out.  I have a well-documented track record of more than thirty years making positive contributions to this County and the vast majority of our citizens know in their hearts that the ridiculous charges that you have made against me are totally without merit.  So I am not worried about me.

What worries me, Roy, is that what you have accused me of – of using my position or power to threaten and intimidate others – is exactly what you are guilty of.  In the recent “debate” over the merits of the tax proposal for generating facilities, I found that my colleagues on the Economic Development Committee who had agreed with and voted for the idea were all afraid of becoming a target of yours and therefore were unwilling to publicly support the effort as I came before the School Board.

It is not surprising that they were so concerned.  We have all witnessed the horrible, hate-filled and totally unjustifiable campaigns which you have waged against Wayne Adams, Bill Hixon, Everette Kitchens, John Pettigrew and many others.  No one wants to be a target of that kind of character assassination.  Almost daily we read your threats against our elected officials, putting them on notice that you, in your almighty righteousness, are going to see that they are defeated at the polls.  Can’t you see that that you are guilty of exactly what you have accused me of?

Moreover, I am deeply concerned about the not-so-veiled racism which permeates almost every part of Edgefield Daily.  This is evil and wrong, and certainly un-Christian.  No denials on your part can cover the fact that you are creating and perpetuating a deep distrust between the races in this county which will divide our people and inhibit our progress.  There may be black citizens and elected officials who are racist too, but when they read your prejudice every day – particularly that which pretends to be written by many others in Wandering Minds, any doubt is removed from their minds that white racism is alive and well.  When the history of our County is written, your contribution of racial conflict and disunity will certainly deserve a major chapter.

Assuming that you profess to being a Christian, Roy, how do you reconcile yourself with writing and publishing such hate-filled and venomous things about people.  Don’t you realize that every time you put out malignant libel like that, Christ Jesus cringes?  Don’t you realize that when you perpetually spew forth such hate-filled and evil invective you are causing your very soul to rot?

Very truly yours,
Bettis C. Rainsford
Edgefield, SC


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