The Atlanta Journal-Constitution apologized after a racist tweet was posted on its Twitter account.
Screenshots of the tweet in question, which has since been deleted, are posted on Huffington Post, Deadspin, and Poynter. As Politico explained, “’40 acres and a mule’ is a reference to a Civil War-era policy enacted by the Union Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman that gave freed slaves in the South 40 acres of tillable land on islands along the coast of Georgia and mules.” The article the tweet linked to “mentions nothing of Lynch’s race,” Mediaite noted.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution article was titled, “$1 million lottery ticket sold in Lithia Springs,” a four-paragraph report on Willie Lynch’s $1 million winning lottery ticket.
In a 12:39 PM EST apology tweet, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote:
The AJC apologizes for & deeply regrets the tweet that was posted earlier today. We are working to address this situation internally.
— AJC (@ajc) October 23, 2013
And on its website, the AJC published the following statement from its editor Kevin Riley:
“The Atlanta Journal-Constitution sincerely regrets an earlier Twitter message that contained an inappropriate statement.
“We took immediate action to apologize via social media and will issue an apology in Thursday’s print edition. We do not condone such offensive messages and are reviewing our procedures to ensure this type of error does not happen again. “
Riley added to New York Magazine that the tweet was “inappropriate” and “offensive.”
The Wrap noted that AJC “is owned by Cox Media, which also owns KTVU.” As iMediaEthics wrote at the time, KTVU is the San Francisco TV news station that wrongly reported four of the pilots of the Asiana Flight 214 crash this summer were named Captain Sum Ting Wong, Wi Tu Lo, Ho Lee Fuk and Bang Ding Ow. The station had been hoaxed and an intern at the National Transportation Safety Board confirmed the bogus names. Three producers were fired over the error.
iMediaEthics has written to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution‘s Riley asking for more information about any planned disciplinary action and who was behind the tweet. We’ll update with any response.
UPDATE: 10/23/2013 9:17 PM EST: iMediaEthics received the following statement from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
“The Atlanta Journal-Constitution sincerely regrets an earlier Twitter message that contained an inappropriate statement. We took immediate action to apologize via social media and on our website and will issue an apology in Thursday morning’s print edition. We do not condone such offensive messages and are reviewing our procedures to ensure this type of error does not happen again. Additionally, we are taking the appropriate disciplinary action with the individuals involved.”