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UPDATE: Fired MHPC Reporter Responds
01/04/2012   Reported By: Tom Porter

A conservative advocacy group is under fire today for hiring someone who's alleged to have a history of making racist comments online. Leif Parsell was hired last month as a state house reporter for the Maine Heritage Policy Center's recently-established "Maine Wire" news service.

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UPDATE #2, Wednesday, January 4, 2011 at 11:00 am: Fired Maine Heritage Policy Center reporter Leif Parsell responds to Tom Porter's story.

Leif Parsell issued a statement denying charges that he has posted "racist and/or white supremacist" opinions.

Read the statement.

UPDATE #1, Tuesday, January 3, 2011 at 6:30 pm: Political columnist Mike Tipping is reporting on his blog Tipping Point that Leif Parsell will no longer work for the Maine Heritage Policy Center.

A statement by MPC head Lance Dutson posted by Tipping reads in part:

"Earlier today, it came to our attention that a recently-hired staffer had engaged in online discussions that were completely out of the bounds of our value system. MHPC is a strong advocate for the liberty and prosperity of all Mainers, and we deplore the concept of race-based politics. Though these comments were made prior to his employment with our organization, the rift between our value system and those expressed in this pattern of online behavior is significant enough to require an end to our employment of this individual.

It is unfortunate that we were unable to identify this core difference in perspective earlier, but we are thankful to the bloggers who brought this to our attention."

Original Story: Posted Tuesday, January 3, 2011 at 5:30 pm.

The anonymously-authored blog called "State of Maine," has highlighted a number of online statements posted by a person identified as Leif Parsell - statements that Ben Chin finds disturbing: Chin is with the Maine People Alliance, a progressive advocacy group that circulated the findings of the State of Maine blog.

"What we've basically found is that he is an unabashed white supremacist," Chin said. "I mean, his views about race are so far outside the mainstream.

Chin referred to a facebook page run by a Leif Parsell that appears to call for a dictator to assume power in order to protect America and Western Civilization from the decline brought about by ethnic diversity.

Parsell wrote on that facebook page that "Lindbergh was right" - presumably referring to Charles Lindbergh, the pioneering aviator who was accused of being a Nazi sympathizer and a white supremacist.

Parsell - who did not respond to a request for comment on this story - goes on to say that he would "rather have a country that had fallen behind India or China, than one that sold its soul to non-European immigrants and lost its culture."

In response to a post about Maine's ageing and shrinking population on the Maine Heritage Policy Center's facebook page, Parsell wrote that "it's "better than diversifying."

Meanwhile, on a website run by a group called Policymic, a person named Leif Parsell describes cultural and ethnic diversity as degrading to society. He goes onto direct users to a TV interview produced by the National Policy Institute, an organization which claims to speak out against diversity, on behalf of White Americans.

The interview is with commentator and journalist Jared Taylor, who's described as both a white nationalist and racial realist.

At one point, Taylor describes the increasing diversity of American society as dangerous for the country's white population. "Whites are supposed to celebrate diversity - what does that mean? They're supposed to celebrate their dwindling numbers and their dwindling influence," said Taylor. "It's not as though you can fill the country with Haitians and Guatemalans and turn them into the moral heirs of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington."

The MPA's Ben Chin says for Leif Parsell to associate himself with such comments damages his credibility as a journalist.

"So we think that's a really negative comment on him, as well as the whole comment on how ideologically off-the-charts the Maine Heritage Policy Center's news outlet has become," Chin said.

In another development, Parsell's name has also been linked to a site associated with neo-Nazi groups.

Mike Tipping - who's also on the staff at the Maine People's Alliance - wrote in his blog "The Tipping Point", which is published on Downeast Magazine's website, that Leif Parsell's name and college email appear in a database recently released by a hacker group called Nazi-Leaks.

Tipping said Parsell's information appears on a list "purporting to show individuals who purchased clothing or apparel from neo-nazi-linked German retailer Thorsteinar."

Veteran journalist and media critic Al Diamon monitors Maine's media landscape in his blog Media Mutt.

"If in fact this is correct, and I only know what I read, I don't think it's acceptable for anybody who claims to be a journalist to be making those kinds of statements unless you happen to be working in Nazi Germany or something," said DIamon. "These are just way beyond the pale so I would think the only appropriate thing here is for him to resign or for the MHPC to fire him."

The Maine Heritage Policy Center - which describes itself as non-partisan - did not respond to a request seeking comment for this story.

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