Goodbye Bubba Copeland! May Your Soul Rest in Peace!
By: Donald V. Watkins
Copyrighted and Published on November 9, 2023
What 1819 News did to Fred “Bubba” Copeland was wrong. Copeland was not a criminal. However, Kenneth Bryan Dawson, the “shot caller” who approved 1819 News' “hit job” on Bubba Copeland, is a documented, violent, serial offender.
1819 News crossed the line of journalistic ethics by "outing" Copeland under the specific facts and circumstances of his cross-dressing behavior. Yesterday, for example, the Lee County, Alabama Sheriff's office confirmed that Copeland's electronic devices did NOT contain any evidence of any crimes related to his private cross-dressing conduct.
Furthermore, no alleged "victim" of Copeland's cross-dressing conduct thought enough of their "victimhood" to file a lawsuit for invasion of privacy, defamation, or any other civil cause of action prior to 1819 News' publication of the "hit job" on Bubba Copeland.
As president, CEO, and publisher of 1819 News, Kenneth Bryan Dawson must take full responsibility for the actions of his media platform in "outing" the private conduct of Bubba Copeland in a scenario where no crime was committed and no lawsuit was filed that was related to this private conduct.
1819 News owes the Copeland family a sincere, forthright, and timely apology for publishing the premeditated “hit job” article that led to Copeland’s death by suicide. There is no excuse for 1819 News' reckless and unprofessional conduct in this regard.
It is my sincere hope that 1819 News does not compound its fatal mistake by engaging in, or encouraging others to participate in, a campaign of “victim smearing” and “victim bashing” of Bubba Copeland and his family. I saw this kind of irresponsible news media conduct occur after I championed the cause of University of Alabama honors student Megan Rondini in her rape-suicide case. The Tuscaloosa News prostituted itself for money by publishing the full-page ad depicted below, which trashed and bashed a deceased Megan Rondini and her grieving family.
The Tuscaloosa News never fully recovered from its "victim trashing" blunder. Its journalistic reputation is in the toilet. Today, the News has become the drum major for original Alabama-based COINTELPRO media entities that love to bash me.
The Temptation to "Out" People for Sport is Great, But Must Be Avoided
There are alcoholic state officials on Goat Hill in Montgomery who are "commode-hugging drunk" by noon each day. There are Bible-thumping "Christian" members of Alabama Legislature who have gotten secret, in-state, abortions for their mistresses, on more than one occasion. There are appellate state court judges who engage in all kinds of deviant sexual behavior and fetishes. There are federal judges in Alabama who are plain freaks in their private sex lives.
The temptation to "out" these people is great. The documents, photos, and videos capturing their wayward conduct and sinful ways are salacious.
However, I have not “outed” these flawed and pathetic public officials because I have not been able to tie their aberrant, disgusting, and hypocritical private behavior to any malfeasance in the performance of their official public duties.
I do not “out” people simply for the sport of it, or because I disagree with their political affiliation or public policy agenda. Additionally, I do not use my Christian beliefs as a license to knowingly, willingly, and gratuitously hurt people.
What is more, whenever I make a mistake on a matter of significant public interest, I promptly apologize for my mistake and sincerely ask the affected persons who may be hurt by my mistake for their forgiveness. This is my obligation as a Christian, as a decent human being, as a community leader, and as a journalist.
There are professional boundaries that govern the writing and publication of my hard-hitting news articles. I work hard every day to stay within them.
I expect 1819 News and other news media organizations to stay within these boundaries, as well. Many news media organizations simply do not care about these boundaries anymore, especially in the age of digital news. They need the money that comes from salacious “click bait” articles in order to survive. I don’t.
I do not sell ads or charge a subscription fee for my news content. In a democratic society, the truth should always be free of cost and available to everyone.
Honoring Bubba Copeland
To the family of Bubba Copeland, 1819 News may never have the courage or decency to apologize to you.
However, as a Christian, as a family man, and as a journalist, I am apologizing to you for them. In the exercise of your proven Christian faith, I humbly ask the Copeland family to forgive 1891 News, as difficult as it may be to do so.
Agape love must always conquer small-minded hatred.
We cannot bring Bubba back to you, but we can honor his memory. I have tried to honor Bubba with my articles solely because it is the right thing to do.
As you lay Bubba to rest today, please know that the drum majors of hatred in Alabama will NEVER lead my band!