After the AP quoted Jefferson Davis: “We are embarrassed and totally appalled and we apologize.”

From a New York Times story by Rachel Abrams headlined “Wire Service Sorry for Featuring Words of Confederate President”:

As part of a daily feature called Today in History, The Associated Press supplied newspapers across the country with a quotation from Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederate States of America.

The quote — “Never be haughty to the humble; never be humble to the haughty” — was included as the feature’s Thought for Today on June 3, Davis’s birth date.

“We are embarrassed that this happened and we apologize,” an A.P. spokeswoman said.

Today in History notes historical and trivial events that took place on the date in question, along with the birthdays of famous people dead and alive.

Thought for Today appears at the end of the feature. It can be an anonymous proverb or a quotation from a writer, a philosopher, a scientist, an entertainer or a historical figure.

The line attributed to Davis appeared in more than two dozen newspapers amid worldwide protests against racism and police violence prompted by the killing of George Floyd, who died in Minneapolis last month after a white police officer pinned him to the ground.

As part of a national reckoning, there has been an outcry against the use of the iconography and names associated with the Confederacy….

“We are totally appalled by it, it should not have happened, and it was a mistake,” said Brian Carovillano, The A.P.’s managing editor. “Under the current climate, it’s especially appalling.”…

The Associated Press provides more than 2,000 stories a day to media organizations, including The Times, that pay to use them….

Mr. Carovillano said a longtime desk editor assembled Today in History about six weeks ahead of time, using material from the organization’s database. Thought for Today quotes are recycled. The line from Davis had run three times — every four years on his birthday since 2008….

After a complaint from what The A.P. described as “a customer” on June 3, the service sent out a correction and a replacement quotation from the author Franz Kafka, who died on that date. The Kafka quote was, “There are two cardinal sins from which all the others spring: impatience and laziness.”

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