Ashton Pittman Profile picture
Journalist, writer, photographer, vinyl enthusiast, pibble lover, husband. • Senior Reporter @msfreepress • Any views = mine • RTs ≠ endorsements
eDo Profile picture Diana Roby Profile picture Kika Profile picture ABW - I vape b/c I'm grown Profile picture #WeAreTheCavalry #BidenHarris2020 Ginger Profile picture 6 added to My Authors
22 Nov
Don't reply to a story of mine about Mississippi racism with, "Well, it IS Mississippi, so..."

I don't report these stories so smug Californians/Michiganders et al., can hop on a high horse & look down on the Blackest state. I do it to make MS better.

Try that in your state.
Cause I promise y'all's states all have racism too—all 49 of them. Mississippi is just a mirror for the rest of America, but lots of folks like to pretend it's a window to some separate land. It isn't.
Honestly, the soft bigotry of low expectations is just plain old bigotry. And it's damaging.

And when directed at Mississippi? It's racist. Bc the people hurt by it are the almost 4 in 10 Mississippians who are Black that get written out of the story in favor of white racists.
Read 18 tweets
21 Nov
NEW: With hospital resources quickly dwindling, Mississippi smashed COVID-19 records with with 1,972 new cases today.

The old record, set at the height of the summer wave on July 30, was 1,775 cases.

But this time, there is no slowdown in sight.…
“We’re not at the peak—not by a longshot,” Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said as the state set a new daily record. “The hospitals are full...It’s going to overflow, & we’re pretty much there...We’re not just making this up. It’s real.”…
“One of the things that’s really helped about the mask mandates is churches and businesses feel like they have the authority to do it, and when we take the mask mandate away, they feel powerless," said Dr. Dobbs.

Gov. Reeves ended the mandate on Sept. 30.…
Read 7 tweets
21 Nov
Biden shouldn't be signaling whether or not he'd want his future AG to prosecute Trump.

Don't accept Trump/Barr DOJ ways.

Presidents shouldn't influence DOJ decisions—whether the goal is to target political rivals like Trump does or to show them mercy. Either corrupts Justice.
The idea that it would be appropriate for Biden to signal that he wants Trump prosecuted, but that it's ok for him to signal that he wants the DOJ not to prosecute Trump so we can "move on" is a fallacy.

Both are undue political influence on DOJ even if one is far more sinister.
It also insults the idea of equal justice.

If presidents can't be prosecuted for crimes while in office (but their aides can be prosecuted for crimes a president ordered them to commit)...

And then can't be prosecuted after they leave bc the next president wants to "move on..."
Read 4 tweets
21 Nov
NEW: The University of Mississippi is investigating the group of whistleblowers who helped us break the story about racist emails between former journalism dean Will Norton and a wealthy donor who referred to Black women students as "Black hookers." 1/…
Some faculty and officials at the school are now accusing the whistleblowers, known collectively as Ole Miss Information, of creating “a hostile work environment.” #UMEmails 2/…
As UM investigates the #UMemails whistleblowers, ex-journalism dean Will Norton, who resigned in May when a public records request brought the racist emails to light, continues to earn almost $20,000 a month—even though is not teaching classes. 3/…
Read 20 tweets
20 Nov
"Legal votes" is code for "white votes."

"Illegal votes" is code for "Black and other unfavorable non-white votes."

Just auto replace these terms in your mind when you see them and many of the asinine comments about the election being thrown around will become clearer.
Many remarks make sense when you replace 50% of mentions of "socialism" w "more power & equity for POC."

McConnell saying "DC+PR statehood="full bore seizing the means of production" makes no sense.

But DC+PR statehood="full bore more power & equity for POC" does.
When the Mississippi governor asks for “Patriotic Education" to combat "indoctrination in far-left socialist teachings that emphasize America’s shortcomings" (slavery), that isn't about seizing the means of production. It's about the Lost Cause.…
Read 7 tweets
20 Nov
NEW: MAIS, a top a private school org, is defending its schools' refusal to comply with lawful orders to report data on classroom COVID-19 cases and outbreaks among their "customers" (meaning students) to the Mississippi State Department of Health.…
Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs: “We are seeing a lot of private and independent schools not reporting their numbers. They need to do it, and it is a public-health order, and they are going against the legal mandate to report."…
MAIS on private school refusal to report COVID data: “(Private schools) aren't agents of the state. They are small businesses that happen to be in the business of teaching children. The best they can do is report what customers report to them.”…
Read 6 tweets
20 Nov
NEW: Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves is asking the Legislature to cut funds for schools that don't offer in-class instruction.

The proposal comes after the worst week for COVID-19 in schools so far, with over 1,546 positive cases and 16,705 quarantined.…
Gov. Tate Reeves' request for the Legislature to strip funds from all-virtual schools came after more than 65 schools moved to all-virtual amid large outbreaks.

MSDH reported 70 school outbreaks last week—up from 24 the week before.…
Reeves’ proposed budget does not include a plan to raise pay for teachers—despite 2019 campaign promises of a substantial teacher pay raise. Instead, he wants $3 million for "Patriotic Education."

The news comes after yet another teacher died of COVID-19.…
Read 16 tweets
20 Nov
Hi, this is a photo of Hillary Clinton the morning after the 2016 election, wearing purple (as is her husband) to symbolize national unity, red and blue alike, and declaring:

"Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and a chance to lead." 1/
Hillary Clinton said we owed Trump "an open mind and a chance to lead" after he spent his a campaign calling to "lock her up" and for "the 2nd Amendment people" to stop her from appointing judges.

He had also promised to claim her victory, if she won, was rigged. Image
Hillary Clinton's quick concession, even when millions of votes remained to be counted (in a much closer election—77,000 votes in three states) and in which she would win the popular vote by 3 million, was still met with claims that she was a sore loser. Image
Read 7 tweets
19 Nov
THREAD: Someone dared @ me saying to "get rid of" our pit bulls (Dorothy & Dru, below) because they "kill children."

Let's set the record straight. The idea that pitbulls are some sort of superpredator dog breed is a myth.

And it's a myth borne from anti-Black racism racism. 1/ Our pitbulls Dorothy and Dru, with their heads next to one a
"When people talk about pit bulls, they often reveal their opinions on class and race issues while 'using the dogs as proxies,' Bronwen Dickey said. Recent pit history, she argues in her book, is partly a story about racism & cultural stereotypes." 2/…
In the early 20th century & through the 1960s, pitbulls had a reputation as a loving, all American dog.

Teddy Roosevelt had pit bulls in the White House.

Helen Keller had a beloved pitbull.

The most famous dog in the country was Petey on the Little Rascals—a pit bull. 3/
Read 17 tweets
17 Nov
NEW: A 1st grade teacher died of COVID-19 in DeSoto County, where the sheriff is defying the governor by refusing to enforce a county mask mandate.

27 teachers in the small school have tested positive for COVID-19 since August, but only 13 students.…
Here's what one DeSoto County teacher said in a July plea: “I beg those who are in decision making positions to please take more time. Death is final and in this case even preventable if schools (implement) virtual or distancing learning for the fall..."…
Statewide, another 65 Mississippi public schools went virtual amid widespread outbreaks.

COVID-19 cases among students doubled to more than 1,000 for the week, and cases among teachers rose above 500.

More than 14,000 students were quarantined last week.…
Read 6 tweets
16 Nov
NEW: Families who hold big Thanksgiving gatherings this year could be planning small funerals by Christmas, Mississippi's top health officials warned.

“We don’t really want to see Mamaw at Thanksgiving and bury her by Christmas," Dr. Mark Horne said.…
“Be careful, because there’s nowhere for you to go if you have a car wreck,” Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said, pointing to the fact that hospitals across the state are running out of beds.…
Dr. Thomas Dobbs. “I’m just going to be straight up with y’all. It is really bad. Our hospitals are full, we’re overloaded, our caseload is unbelievable. If you have any vulnerability, you really need to stay home, not go to church, not be socializing."…
Read 8 tweets
16 Nov
It's not really a redefinition. The right, especially in the South, has long used "socialism" & "communism" to mean "things that help Black & non-white people."

That was true in the days of the segregationist Dixiecrats & the Citizens Councils. It remains true today.
What's changed is that a lot of national reporters are recognizing that many people who shout, "Socialism!" don't mean the dictionary definition.

Often when people bring up fears of socialism & I ask them to define it, they'll say something about POC getting special benefits.
Trump has also helped ensure that the once-coded cries of "Socialism!" are now more blatant in meaning.
Read 9 tweets
15 Nov
"You're a faggot & a traitor to Mississippi. I would not mind if you deep throated a revolver and repainted the wall with your own brains, but you probably oppose the 2nd amendment in addition to The Mississippi State Flag."

Welcome to the inbox of a gay Mississippi journalist. Email from Hermann of Teutoburg to ashton@mississippifreepre
I do love my state too much to let it stay stuck in the past—and definitely too much to let creatures like this person have more power & say over our state's government than the 38% of this state that is Black, or the LGBT people of this state... 2/
To his points:

1. I don't oppose the 2nd Amendment (only the fairytale version of it that enables our culture of mass murder); I have a gun. Haven't shot one in years, but I have really good aim.

2. I think our new official MS state flag is beautiful!
Read 8 tweets
15 Nov
NEW: A report the @OleMissRebels hid from public view found that 60% of university faculty said they seriously considered leaving UM over the past year.

"I was sexually assaulted in my workplace,” one said.

Others cited "corrupt" hiring practices. 1/…
"A director recommended his son-in-law for a management position that reported to him. When a person on the hiring committee pointed out that some might fear retaliation when coming with a complaint against his son-in-law, the director became enraged." 2/…
"The whole department was retaliated against. (No raises, given new job descriptions, refused to replace broken equipment.)” 3/…
Read 8 tweets
15 Nov
I edited Trump's tweet to remove all the false parts.
I have now edited this Trump tweet to make it factual, too.
I could not figure out what to do with this one.
Read 4 tweets
14 Nov
As a white man from rural Mississippi, it's just bizarre watching all these newspapers around the country treat white right-wingers like exotic zoo animals who require study.
When is the last time a newspaper dedicated its letters page to Black women who vote Democratic?

Or to trans people marginalized by Trump's policies?

Or to people at risk of losing heath coverage?

Or to the homeless?

Or to prisoners of victimless crimes?

Understand them!
Honestly, if you want to understand white Trump voters, Black organizers and leaders in the South oftentimes understand them better than they understand themselves, because Black southerners have HAD to understand how whiteness thinks.
Read 6 tweets
13 Nov
THREAD: For the past few days, there's been a lot of talk (& reporting by me) about Republicans in Mississippi talking like the Dixiecrats who once ran MS (Rep. Price Wallace wanting to "succeed from the Union").

BUT: They aren't the only Republicans in the Legislature. 1/
There are Republicans in the Mississippi Legislature who aren't left wingers by any means, but if given the chance to lead, would point the party toward a more inclusive future focused on solving problems, not winning & maintaining power with divisiveness & demagoguery. 2/
That includes Republicans who have worked to champion pro-LGBT legislation, like a bill to add LGBT people to Mississippi's hate crime laws.

It includes Republicans with strong pro-public education stances.

These are not Republicans who try to imitate Trump or focus on him. 3/
Read 6 tweets
12 Nov
NEW: DeSoto County Sheriff Bill Rasco, a Republican, is refusing to enforce Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves' mask order for the county.

Over a two-week period, 1 in every 200 DeSoto residents tested positive for #COVID19. Only one ICU beds remains…
Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs: “DeSoto County is on fire with cases. … If I lived in DeSoto County, I wouldn’t go out."

The State Department of Health characterized DeSoto County's stance as "defiance" of public health orders.…
As DeSoto County's situation grew more dire, three Republican lawmakers recently asked the governor to end all of his COVID-19 orders.

“Our freedoms and liberties have been limited for too long. Our people are crying out for relief," they wrote.…
Read 4 tweets
12 Nov
NEW: No ICU beds are available in Mississippi's capital city, Jackson. ICUs in other large cities are also full.

Only 12% of ICU beds remain available statewide as COVID-19 surges.

But Gov. Tate Reeves still hasn't re-enacted the statewide mask mandate.…
In DeSoto County, where only one ICU bed remains, Sheriff Bill Rasco, a Republican, is refusing to enforce Gov. Tate Reeves' mask order for the county.

Over a two-week period, 1 in every 200 DeSoto residents tested positive for #COVID19.…
Gov. Tate Reeves is vowing to defy any national lockdown order future President Joe Biden may issue once in office.

"We are going to continue with our strategy," Reeves said, calling the idea "completely beyond reasonableness."…
Read 5 tweets
10 Nov
Mississippi House Rep. Price Wallace: “We need to succeed [sic] from the union and form our own country."

That tweet came in response to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris' victory in the presidential race.

Rep. Price Wallace's declaration that Mississippi needs to "succeed from the union" comes less than a week after Mississippians' voted to replace a flag that symbolized the last time we tried to *secede from the union with a new one.…
Top Mississippi Republican officials, on the other hand, have mostly remained silent about President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris' victory.…
Read 20 tweets
10 Nov
NEW: “We need to succeed from the union & form our own country,” Mississippi Rep. Price Wallace tweeted after networks called the election for Biden, misspelling "secede."

Mississippi AG Fitch, meanwhile, is backing Trump's effort to overturn votes in PA.…
Two young Mississippi House Republicans celebrated the fact that America elected a woman to the vice presidency.

Republican House Rep. Jansen Owen: "Regardless of one’s political ideology, this moment stands as a testament to our great nation."…
Republican Mississippi House Rep. Kent McCarty: “I would hope that ALL of us, regardless of party, can acknowledge the historical significance of the daughter of immigrants becoming the VP of the United States. ... I’m not sure why that’s controversial."…
Read 6 tweets