Category: Editorial

IRN Owner/Journalist Ryan Blade Response to Vero Communique Article about Jennifer Pippin

June 15, 2022; Updated November 9, 2022

Local publication Vero Communique wrote an article titled “Jennifer Pippin: “She Spews Hate.”” that took issue with an Opinion piece Moms for Liberty Indian River, Florida Chairman and We the People Indian River Co-Founder Jennifer Pippin had published here on Indian River News. I thought I would take the opportunity to respond to this article from Vero Communique. You can click here to read Vero Communique’s original article that I will be responding to.

One thing I would like to point out is Mrs. Pippin’s last name is spelt P I P P I N. There are only two letter I in her last name. No where in her last name is there a Letter E to be found. I spaced the letters like that so the readers can see how her name is actually spelled versus the misspelling in the title of Vero Communique’s article.

I’ll quote each part of the article and then give a response.

“Vero Communiqué reported on May 25, 2022 about the lack of verbal civility during public comments at Indian River County school board meeting.

Comments cited in our report and written in comments received from the article included: “What a bunch of cowards.”

“You’re all racists…each and every one of you are racists. ““We’re sick and tired of your Commie-Marxist propaganda…and pushing axxl sex in the agenda.”

I took a quick read through the May 25th article and I have some thoughts on it. I can’t blame parents and community members for being upset about a lot of the problems that have gone on in the School District for the past two and a half years. Some have been out of control quarantining that caused kids to get lower grades. Another has been the student discipline problems throughout the district.

Regarding the quotes specifically, people in our community are sick of the left wing-doctrination that has gone on in educational materials in our community and throughout our Country, along with the various problems that have been found in our local School District. People are fed up and have had enough.

Moms for Liberty Indian River, Florida Vice Chairman and We the People Indian River County Co-Founder Chris Allen had found some of these problematic left-wing learning materials when she was on a review committee for the Florida Department of Education. So yes, people have every right to be upset about that things like Critical Race Theory and other left-wing indoctrination being found in education books.

Now there’s a lack of civility in written opinion pieces.

From what I saw reading over Mrs. Pippin’s Editorial prior to publication on my website, I saw it as her informing people of what went on at that Superintendent’s Workshop on May 9th and what has been going on the past few years with the School District.

I think there’s a few things Mrs. Pippin can add to her articles to make them more polished and better structured. She’s not going to be perfect with what she writes. I let her run that Opinion piece to help readers see from a first-hand account, what has been going on with the School Board and District.

Keep in mind too, the Opinion piece was actually an email she sent to the School District. Mrs. Pippin sent it to me and let me run it on my website. Typically, when I let one of the local prominent Conservatives run an Editorial or Opinion piece on my website, I usually make sure it has substance and is cited to the best of their ability. Sometimes, depending on who is doing the writing, I may help with gathering the cited information so that we can have as much cited information as possible linked in the articles.

One thing I think should have been included in what Mrs. Pippin wrote was an example from Ms. Klim’s Facebook Page of the “hate spewing” Mrs. Pippin has felt Ms. Klim does. I actually went and found an example of this. Keep this in mind that Mrs. Pippin’s view on the “hate spewing” is really the end of the day her opinion and how she describes what she sees from Ms. Klim’s public Facebook page.

While I may not agree with what Ms. Klim posted, she has her right to her opinion as I have my right to mine and I will defend all Americans their right to Free Speech. I may not agree with what someone has to say, but they have a right to say it, as long as it’s not a direct call for violence, considered defamatory or obscene to where the U.S. Supreme Court will not defend it.

Link on Facebook:


Facebook Post from Stacey Kilm that says I find it ironic that the fringe group in our community want to impose their beliefs on our children while at the same time screaming about parental rights and living in a free state. Do they not understand what they are doing and saying?

When I was inserting the links into Mrs. Pippin’s article, I only linked Ms. Klim’s Facebook page so readers can do their own independent research on what she posts, so they can see in real time, even after the story had been published, what she was posting on her page. In the screenshot above, Ms. Klim is calling Moms for Liberty Indian River, Florida a fringe group, something that they are far from being in my opinion. I find that Moms for Liberty Indian River, Florida represents a lot of parents, grandparents and community members who value Parental Rights, high quality education and a safe learning environment for the children in the School District. It’s surprising in my view that a group advocating for those three issues is considered to be a “fringe group.”

I thought yes, Mrs. Pippin did come off strong in the Opinion piece she wrote, but it was a necessary strength. I did not find this strength to be hostility for no reason. There are plenty of parents who have been afraid to speak up because they’re scared their kid(s) will get discriminated against or harassed in school. There are parents who could also be afraid of speaking up out of fear of losing their jobs or community backlash. Mrs. Pippin speaks for the parents who are unable to speak for various reasons, including the reasons I just mentioned. I find she is 100% justified with coming off as strong as she does in her article.

I do see things Mrs. Pippin can be doing differently in her articles when she writes them. But then again, when she says things like “WE TOLD YOU,” I also don’t blame her. She’s been warning the School District of various issues, in her view, like masking negatively harming children and the consequences of the then insane quarantining policy (back when that was in place). There’s plenty of parents in the County who share her views on the various issues that have gone on in the School District. As mentioned, they are unable to speak for various reasons, including even lack of public speaking skills. It’s these reasons that Mrs. Pippin speaks for all of those parents who are unable to speak. So when she comes through with that strength, I find she has every right to do that. This also, gives the public a clear insight on something that is on going, in real time in our community. I find this is 100% of public interest to be able to read such information.

On May 10, 2022, Jennifer Pippin, Chairman of Mom’s for Liberty Indian River Florida and Co-Founder We the People Indian River County, wrote an opinion piece in Indian River News calling out Stacey Klim, the leader of an Indian River County, FL task force. Ms. Klim leads a task force of 15 community leaders who met eight times since October for two hours each, determining that mental health was the number one priority for the School District. Related article below.

According to Ms. Pippin, “Stacey Klim isn’t someone I would trust to make decisions for my children, or anyone else’s…see how horribly she speaks of parents and community members. She spews hate throughout the county daily of sitting board members and people in the community. She’s a failed politician that lost her school board race years ago and is trying to stay relevant.”

This is a situation where someone of prominence is personally attacking a community advocate. “She spews hate.”

According to Dice House University, “Personal Harassment is abusive, unfair, or demeaning treatment of a person or group of persons that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome and unwanted.”

Similarly, Law Insider defines Personal Harassment means any inappropriate behavior that is directed at and offensive to another person, and which the originator knew or ought to reasonably to have known would be unwelcome or cause offense. It comprises objectional conduct, comment or display that demeans of causes humiliation or embarrassment.

I will admit while Mrs. Pippin’s article was labeled Editorial, it should have been labeled as an Opinion piece looking back on that. If I see something can be done better, it will be done better. I actually went in and updated the title to say Opinion instead of Editorial in that Article, as I was writing this response.

I would not call what Mrs. Pippin said regarding Ms. Klim as harassment. What Mrs. Pippin wrote was her giving the public insight on the issues on going with the School District and the people involved, from her perspective. What the readers take from that is up to them. They can agree or disagree with what she writes. That is what my Editorial and Opinion section is there for on Indian River News.

If Mrs. Pippin saying her Opinion of Ms. Klim “spewing hate” is harassment, then what Ms. Klim said in the example above should be considered harassment as well. To be clear, I do not consider any of these two to be harassing other, just so that is clear.

This is where we cross into the area of Hate Speech being subjective. Did the article specifically say Hate Speech? No, but this is looking very much like that debate.

Gab CEO Andrew Torba has said repeatedly that “hate speech is subjective” and he is right. What I may find offensive versus another person can differ. One person may not get as offended by things as easily as another person would.

The Vero Communqiue article is basically saying in my opinion, that because Mrs. Pippin gave an opinion, it is harassment. I disagree with this. Instead I contend that Mrs. Pippin gave an opinion that some might find to be offensive. Any side, including someone like Ms. Klim, is allowed to give an opinion that some may find to be offensive.

Indian River News cites itself to be “Factual News, Conservative Opinions.” The disclaimer on Ms. Pippens op ed was that “Indian River News is not responsible for the contents of this Editorial. The author has agreed to assume all responsibility for its contents.

The disclaimer I put there for legal reasons. When someone like Mrs. Pippin writes an Editorial or Opinion piece on my website, I have them indemnify Indian River News, LLC so that they assume full legal responsibility for what they write. It takes the legal responsibility off of Indian River News as a legal entity. If they make a mistake, they have to own it. That’s how I do things with my website.

Frankly, we’re surprised and disappointed that Indian River News allowed such an opinion piece to be published in the first place. According to the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics, the oldest organization representing journalism in the U.S, “ethical journalism treats sources, subjects, colleagues and members of the public a human being deserving of respect. Balance the public’s need for information against potential harm or discomfort. Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance or undue intrusiveness.

Far as I’m concerned, allowing Mrs. Pippin to publish what she wrote, was and is of interest to the public. I think not allowing Mrs. Pippin to publish her story, would have not been in the public interest. As for disrespect, I won’t allow something to be published in my publication just to be a straight up insult for the sake of making insults. In Mrs. Pippin’s case, I allowed publication so she could express how she sees about the situation and to give readers insight to her side of the story.

Political Correctness is something I will not have my platform. If someone needs to state something the way they need to, they can by all means go for it. I cannot please everyone, but I do believe in common courtesy. To me, Political Correctness is common courtesy gone too far. Too much of something can be seen as a bad thing. There needs to be common courtesy, but not to the point where people can’t talk about things. This is what led to the rise of President Donald J. Trump and his time in the White House.

I have to give Vero Communique credit though, at least they’re doing their best to stick to a good journalistic guideline. I read through the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics and found it to be very interesting. A lot of their guidelines I’ve found myself already doing that without ever having read it. It’s definitely what I would consider to be a helpful resource.

The Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics says “expose unethical conduct in journalism, including within their organizations.”

If you’re looking to call out actual journalistic issues on the local level in our community, there are other outlets I think need to be looked at. I am not saying names as I don’t care enough to police these people, unless I find the need to. Look for these articles and call these people out as such, if you really find the need to do that. While I appreciate the concern for my outlet, I think there’s other places to be looking than Indian River News (though it doesn’t hurt to check though and give your thoughts if you find the need to).

As far as I’m concerned, overall, Mrs. Pippin was in the right for what she said in that Opinion piece. Ms. Klim, being a former School Board Candidate and currently serving on a School District of Indian River County Committee, is a public figure in my view. Public figures, like myself, are not awarded the same protections as a private citizen. Yes I do find there should be courtesy, but given the problems that have gone on in the Schools both here in the County and Nationwide, again, Mrs. Pippin is completely justified in what she said. Does that mean all courtesy is gone? No, but if something needs to be expressed, especially for public interest, I find it needs to be and should be expressed. I will NEVER allowed my platform to be used for abuse of another humanbeing, EVER. What Mrs. Pippin said does not constitute harassment in my view.

Mom’s for Liberty Indian River Florida is a 501 (c) (4) nonprofit organization. According to the Community Code of Contact for Nonprofit New York, an organization supporting over 4,700 nonprofit organizations over 35 years, “Verbal harassment includes, but is not limited to, offensive verbal or written comments related… to expression. It also includes deliberate intimidation.”

I saw nothing in her Opinion piece that constituted as intimidation. It’s interesting how some, in my view, like to toss that word intimidation. Just because someone is strong with what they say and have opinions, that does not constitute harassment. The only time I find accusations of intimidation should be used, is when there is actually intimidation.

As again, I do not find Mrs. Pippin’s statements to be harassment.

In her op ed Ms. Pippin curiously seems to endorse Paul Wescott for the School Board. “I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the one member in the committee [the aforementioned Task Force?] who truly represents parents. Paul Wescott is the ONLY person I know and trust on this committee and would value any and everything he has to say as a parent and community member.” In fact Mr. Wescott is running for a position as a Trustee of the Indian River County Hospital District. Local Attorney Paul Westcott has filed to run on May 20th, for Indian River County Hospital District. The Seat he is looking to run for is Seat 4.

Almost no one knew Attorney Westcott was planning to file to run for Hospital District until he filed to run. He filed to run for office after that Opinion piece was published on May 10th, 10 days before Attorney Westcott filed to run for office. Just because Mrs. Pippin is praising someone for their involvement with a Committee, it does not mean that she is giving a full on endorsement. If she was giving an endorsement, she would be saying so.

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