Yesterday, radio host and Dallas Morning News op-ed columnist Mark Davis tweeted this to his 29,000 followers:
With each confederate monument erased, these people get a step closer to their goal. Do not doubt for a minute that these people exist https://t.co/XZHeyNOz4B
— Mark Davis (@MarkDavis) August 16, 2017
He retweeted a fellow named Andrew Mullins, who wrote: “There are actual people out there that want to change the name of Washington, DC, because George Washington owned slaves.” On Twitter, unlike the embedded graphic here, you can see that Mullins tweet. Mullins posted a screen grab of a 2015 Newsweek opinion piece by Richard Gunderman that bore the headline: “Should We Change the Name of Washington, D.C., Because He Owned Slaves?” But Mullins didn’t link to that article. And neither did Davis. So Davis’ followers just saw the headline. I imagine more than a few of them took it at face value.
The Newsweek article, though, is about Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson and how we are to appraise them today, given that the former owned slaves and the latter abused Native Americans. At no point in his piece did Gunderman address any actual proposal to rename D.C. No one was talking about renaming D.C. He merely raised a rhetorical question about renaming the city, and the headline writer seized on that outlandish concept. Nothing more.
With this tweet, Mark Davis shows his hand. He is a fearmonger who trades on people’s basest instincts. Each time that Mike Wilson, the editor of the Dallas Morning News, publishes Davis’ work, he undermines his paper’s credibility and insults the citizens of Dallas. It needs to stop.
[Ed: this post was edited to correct an error about Gunderson’s rhetorical question.]