Detroit Free Press editor Stephen Henderson penned a vicious column last week that called for the death of Michigan state House GOP members. Using some pretty brutal language, Henderson explained that such grisly fates were warranted after the House passed a piece of education legislation he found disagreeable.
From the column:
We really ought to round up the lawmakers who took money to protect and perpetuate the failing charter-school experiment in Detroit, sew them into burlap sacks with rabid animals, and toss them into the Straits of Mackinac.
That’s harsh. Maybe.
But then he reasoned that the treatment may be justified, given that ancient “practitioners of democracy,” such as the Romans and Greeks, used to have similar punishments for “solicitous and unprincipled public officials.”
“No lover of actual democracy could weep at that outcome,” Henderson wrote, referring to the lawmakers’ decision to support charter schools.
He later tweeted the piece, saying that “GOP House harlots deserve worse than hanging” for betraying the children of Detroit in their decisions regarding the city’s public schools.
The tweet caught the attention of the Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway, who later wrote an article calling the Pulitzer prize-winning editor’s character into question.
In her piece, Hemingway cited an poll the Free Press published back in March, which determined that “the statewide opinion of K-12 education is downright ugly.”
The poll revealed that the majority of residents didn’t think pouring money into union-controlled public schools was a viable solution, with 63 percent saying it takes more than money to improve education, and 76 agreeing that education is not a top priority of state government.
“The political environment is toxic all around these days, but it’s shameful that a Pulitzer winner sought violent retribution against political opponents, much more that he wrote these thoughts down, and much more that his newspaper has no problem with it,” Hemingway wrote.
Henderson’s tone in his article is even more striking when one considers that less than two months ago the editor wrote a piece demanding that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump be held accountable for his reckless rhetoric, the Daily Caller's Peter Hasson pointed out.
“Rhetoric matters, not least because it reflects thought — or it should. Used wisely, rhetoric can make complex ideas understandable or rally people behind a common cause,” Henderson wrote in his April 9 column.
Henderson was slammed on Twitter Tuesday by followers who found the column "outrageous" and unacceptable.
Outrageous rhetoric. You should be fired. https://t.co/DbNbpmS8Pw— Ed Whelan (@EdWhelanEPPC) June 7, 2016
.@EdWhelanEPPC get your head out of those Rand books, and join the world of lit where hyperbole, especially historical hyperbole, lives.— Stephen Henderson (@SHendersonFreep) June 7, 2016
Can you go into detail about what these "harlots" deserve? Beheading? Rape? Mutilation? Please be specific. https://t.co/SRfTCz6JJe— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) June 7, 2016
And just to be clear, Henderson is not sorry.
You don't have the guts or grace to apologize for advocating murder. You're hiding like a coward. https://t.co/rh8E2iS4pG— Ed Whelan (@EdWhelanEPPC) June 7, 2016