There was nothing wrong with the article, in which the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that a Georgia man named Willie Lynch had won $1 million in the Georgia lottery. The tweet that appeared on the newspaper’s official Twitter account, however, wasn’t quite so straightforward. As clipped above, it used the “40 acres and a mule” line to infuse a bit of clickworthiness into the straight-news story.
The problem with the tweet is familiar to all those who’ve taken high school American history: “40 acres and a mule” were promised to former slaves as reparations. Not an ideal analogy, in other words, for some guy winning the lottery in 2013.
Twitter brought the full brunt of its enforcement authority to bear on the situation:
.@ajc WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU EVEN DOING
— SPECTER HELL (@edsbs) October 23, 2013
— Sam BOOdle (@samfbiddle) October 23, 2013
— Christina Coleman (@ChrissyCole) October 23, 2013
Looks like there will be a social media job open soon @ajc. Major requirement. Don’t be a racist like the last guy was in the gig.
— Joe Casale (@sportsJC16) October 23, 2013
The Erik Wemple Blog has requested an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about just what happened with the tweet. Because we simply refuse to speculate about just how such a perfectly ridiculous notion could have seeped out of the Twitter account of a relatively big-city American newspaper. It has apologized well:
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