Mark Davis Is an Intellectually Dishonest Fearmonger

The Morning News embarrasses itself every time it publishes his work.

Yesterday, radio host and Dallas Morning News op-ed columnist Mark Davis tweeted this to his 29,000 followers:

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.]


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  • GlennHunter

    Really baffled as to what you’re talking about, Tim. Here’s a paragraph from Gunderman’s Newsweek article—the identical one you referenced by saying “at no point in his piece did Gunderman address renaming D.C.”:

    In censuring such men, we run the risk of throwing out the baby with the
    bathwater. Should we strike George Washington from our coinage and
    change the name of the national capital because he was a slaveholder?
    Should we dismantle the Lincoln monument because our 16th president once
    favored the deportation of freed slaves? Should we shun the multiple
    U.S. presidents who appear to have been involved in extramarital

    • MattL1

      And where is the question addressed?

    • You’re right, Glenn. I should have been more careful. Gunderman raised those questions as a rhetorical device. That’s what I meant to say. Gunderman didn’t write about people who want to rename D.C. I should have written: at no point in his piece did Gunderman address any actual proposal to rename D.C.

      Thanks for the edit. I’ll fix the post.

    • space2k

      Ever heard of rhetorical questions? Betteridge’s law? Slippery slopes?

    • Jim Davis

      Soo….someone criticizing another is shown to publish false information. Bit of a credibility problem IMO. But maybe integrity isn’t a requirement at D.

      I don’t even understand why it would have been necessary for the Newsweek article to have discussed any actual proposals in order to be relevant for the tweeters’ purposes. The discussion this week (at least among intellectual communities, so maybe unknown to the author?) is how far we as a society will go once we start removing statues of Confederate generals, which I believe is a reasonable question for us to be contemplating before we get too far down that road. How many faces will we be removing from Mt Rushmore and whose will replace them? Once we’ve burned all the books with reference to slavery, how will we ensure their electronic versions have also been eliminated?

      The Newsweek article raises similar questions and the tweeters were using the graphic of the title since the question is back before us. It was wholly appropriate.

  • Mavdog

    Mullins and Davis apparently did not read Gunderson’s piece as it argues to not apply our current social/political beliefs to those of the past. The article does not support what they apparently think it does. From the piece:
    “Despite their shortcomings, men such as Jefferson and Jackson deserve our continued respect.”

    “At stake in the debate over Jefferson and Jackson is an even larger principle. We live in an age that likes to label people as Democrats or Republicans, liberals or conservatives, and so on. Such labels often obscure more than they reveal.

    Treating people in a one-dimensional fashion not only oversimplifies their politics but also threatens to rob them of their humanity. Character flaws deserve scrutiny, but they should not prevent us from admiring our nation’s heroes.”

  • This article is not going to age well. Better go ahead and memory hole it now.

    • LeticiaPHedge

      I stop trying working hard at shopritte and nowadays I am generating $75-$97 each and every hour. How? I am only working over the internet! My employment did not actually make me delighted hence I made the decision to take a chance on something new…after four years it wasn’t simple to drop out my day job however right now I couldn’t be more satisfied.???Read more here……

  • Pol Pot

    – The 13th Amendment “outlawed slavery”, but it includes an exception: “except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.”

    – The current Attorney General has stated that private prisons will have an increased role in this administration, reversing the policy of phasing out private prisons under the Obama administration. Core Civ and GEO Group, Inc. have seen rapid stock rises since the inauguration.

    – There are nearly as many men of color locked up in American prisons today as were enslaved in shackles in 1830. It may be a smaller percentage of the overall population today though. So when future generations look back at us we will be able to say that only 1% were imprisoned, kind of like how only a small percentage of southerners owed slaves prior to the Civil War.

    – Many corporations use prison labor with prison wages. So there is still large economy dependent upon forced labor.

    I understand the urge to figure out what lens to view historical figures, but let’s stop pretending that we won’t someday be subjected to similar scrutiny for the transgressions that continue today. Go ahead and address the statues, but don’t forget we need to address some statutes as well.

    • DubiousBrother

      Don’t be so pessimistic – think about the millions of people of color that have been eliminated before they had to go through the system and end up incarcerated. Special bonus – it was their Mother’s choice.

    • RAB

      You’re misreading the 13th Amendment. The text states: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” It’s the involuntary servitude that is permitted as punishment for a convicted criminal, not slavery. Granted, the drafters could have done a better job, but compared to their botched effort on the 2nd Amendment, this is a paradigm of clarity.

  • Humble Haole

    “[Ed: this post was edited to correct an error about Gunderson’s rhetorical question.]”

    Yet the headline and the tweet remain the same.

    So Rogers’ followers just saw the headline. I imagine more than a few of them just took it at face value.

  • Happy Bennett

    Sounds like D magazine has made the otherwise sad silly and mediocre Mark Davis (almost) great again. (lol)

    • Mavdog

      that’s an oxymoron, for to be “great again” Davis would have needed to be great before….

      • Happy Bennett

        “almost”–lol. I think that his bombastic bloviating stock has fallen considerably over the past decade or so–but good point.

  • BurkBurnett

    It is always an interesting read when someone has an opinion that differs from those on the left. Be it UC Berkeley, or D Mag. Shutting down free speech seems to always be the answer there days.

    • @zaccrain

      Glenn is allowed to post as much as he wants to.

    • JamieT

      For those dislodged from their fidget spinners by Mr. Burnett’s comment and any others, what Burnett is likely referring to by associating D Magazine with Berkeley is the current leftist tactic and practice known as “deplatforming” (Google it), where dissenting voices are removed and a Safe Space installed in their places by denying or removing a speaker’s platform to speak.

      The author of this post makes such deplatforming his concluding thrust,

      “…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.”

      cloaked in an altruistic concern for all God’s children unable to resist Davis’ allure who might thereby be harmed by Mr. Davis’ speaking freely from Mr. Wilson’s platform.

      • Mavdog

        or perhaps the concluding “thrust” [an interesting metaphor for sure!] was simply a justified criticism of the journalistic integrity and writing standards of Mr. Davis, which is counter to the stated standards of that newspaper.

        • Happy Bennett

          All of which is a very poor reflection on Mr. Wilson’s editorial skills and guidance if he cannot inspire columnists to produce content which enhances “his paper’s credibility” or -at least- does not “insult the citizens of Dallas”.