June 22, 2010
In a May 29 editorial in The Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman, Tom Mitchell told author Joe McGinniss -- who is renting the house next door to the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee's family home as he writes a book about her -- that "Alaska has a law that allows the use of deadly force in protection of life and property."
Those words created a firestorm around an already hot topic, the online magazine Alaska Dispatch reported Monday. Mitchell apologized, saying he didn't mean any harm should befall McGinniss and the Frontiersman suspended comments on the editorial after 428 postings.
Two weeks after the editorial was published, Frontiersman Publisher Kari Sleight said in an e-mail, "Tom 'TC' Mitchell has resigned his position at the Frontiersman to pursue other efforts. His resignation is effective immediately. We wish Tom well in his future endeavors."
Mitchell told the Alaska Dispatch he was surprised by the move, saying the editorial wasn't discussed in his final meeting with Sleight. But, he said, "It doesn't mean that she or others in the corporation didn't factor that in."
Sleight said the editorial didn't play a role in the decision to let Mitchell go. But when pressed about why he left, the publisher told the online magazine, "I don't think that's anything I need to discuss with you."
Sleight said she was out of town when the editorial went through the editing process. Mitchell said when Sleight sent her cuts, an editing snafu resulted in only the last sentence being removed, not the last paragraph.
"That part wouldn't have run if we'd had better communication," Mitchell said. "It was supposed to be sort of an inside joke, but it didn't work."
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