October 23, 2013

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution apologized Wednesday for a tweet about a lottery winner that said he could now “get 40 acres and a whole lotta mules.”

“The Atlanta Journal-Constitution sincerely regrets an earlier Twitter message that contained an inappropriate statement,” Editor Kevin Riley said in a statement e-mailed to Poynter. “We took immediate action to apologize via social media and on our website and will issue an apology in Thursday morning’s print edition.”

The tweet was about a person from Powder Springs, Ga., named Willie Lynch. Here’s a screenshot:

That appears to be a reference to a rule by Union Gen. William Sherman that redistributed land to black families during the Civil War. (The “mule” part came later, Henry Louis Gates Jr. writes in a fascinating history.)

Even odder, Lynch shares his name with the supposed author of a famous (and probably fake) speech about slaveholding.

Earlier Wednesday, the AJC apologized on Twitter:


The paper is “reviewing our procedures to ensure this type of error does not happen again,” Riley’s statement said. “Additionally, we are taking the appropriate disciplinary action with the individuals involved.”

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Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City…
Andrew Beaujon

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