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‘Fat-shaming’ controversy: Veteran newspaper columnist fired for article on the size of people

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A “fat-shaming” newspaper journalist was fired for an article that drew attention to the size of people in today’s world.

…a definite no-no in the political correct post-Obama era.

But is this acceptable… or is it another sign that free speech in America will soon go the way of the dodo bird?

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Photo Source Mcfeely.AreaVoices.com

Alan Linda, an unpaid contributor to the Fergus Falls Daily Journal, saw his regular column canceled by the newspaper last week after he wrote about sitting next to an overweight person on a recent flight, WDAY AM970 talk radio host Mike McFeely reported.

Here’s a sampling of the fare:

I was on an airplane not too long ago, seated on one of three seats. Guess who my seat partners were? The one on my left was so big, I couldn’t get the arm rest down. If he didn’t weigh 300-plus pounds, then I don’t weigh 165 pounds.

I tried. The arm rest. Tried to get it down. He looked at me, kind of grimaced. And when a 300-plus guy has you effectively pinned in and you can’t even run for it, when they grimace at you, your first thought is: “Oh, man. He looks hungry.”


Tim Engstrom, editor of the Daily Journal, based in Minnesota, took the step to fire Linda after 30 years because readers “complained about the column via phone calls, e-mails, Facebook messages and face-to-face meetings,” McFeely said.

“Last Friday, his column was about sitting next to a larger person on an airplane. In the column, he called the person ‘fat’ and went on to describe a lack of sympathy for the man’s weight issue,” the paper’s editorial board wrote.

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“Not only did this offend many of our readers, it offended us.”

Hoping to provide some cover for themselves for running the piece, the Daily Journal said “the editor had pneumonia and wasn’t present” and that the staff was distracted by a letter to the editor under a false name.


Tom Tillison


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