Fox News contributor gets history horribly wrong in discussion of renaming bases honoring Confederates

And even worse, Trump may well have been watching

Fox News’ Outnumbered Overtime reported Wednesday afternoon on a recent Politico article reporting that military leaders were considering whether to rename the 10 U.S. Army bases that currently honor Confederate generals. In the course of the discussion, Fox News contributor and Marine veteran Johnny “Joey” Jones repeated a completely false narrative of American history around the Civil War and Reconstruction period.

And making matters worse, this discussion may well have contributed to yet another unhinged Twitter rant by President Donald Trump, who frequently responds to Fox programming via his Twitter account.

Beginning the June 10 segment, Jones gave some details of his own cultural background. “I grew up in northwest Georgia,” Jones explained. “I went to high school and my teacher called this the ‘War of Northern Aggression’ and dressed as a Confederate soldier from his reenactment uniform twice a year.” 

For his part, Jones explained that he believed “the Rebel flag doesn't have a place in our culture” and people should be encouraged to “understand why” they ought to get rid of it. “I served in the United States Marine Corps,” he added. “I don’t have room in my heart for two countries’ flags.”

But toward the end of the discussion, things went horribly wrong.

“And it's another history lesson — why are those bases in Southern states named after Confederate generals? Because of the Reconstruction and the more damage that was done during that time,” Jones said. “And if we keep playing this tit-for-tat of ‘if you make me do it, I'll do the opposite,’ that's how we get in this place to begin with. We are a single country, and it's OK to have state pride, but have pride in everybody around you and how they feel as well.”

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Citation From the June 10, 2020, edition of Fox News’ Outnumbered Overtime

In making that statement, Jones fell back upon the Lost Cause misinformation he described experiencing in his youth. Reconstruction, far from being a period of “more damage,” was a time when African Americans first gained the widespread right to vote, as well as access to education and other opportunities — only to be repressed through organized campaigns of domestic terrorism perpetrated by white supremacists.

Furthermore, the naming of those Army bases after Confederate generals did not occur in the post-Reconstruction period, as Jones suggested. It happened in the 20th century, as the military expanded its infrastructure during the two World Wars. Furthermore, because these expansions took place largely in the Jim Crow South due to the availability of cheap land, it had the damaging effect of spreading segregation into new areas of federal jurisdiction.

The really odd part here is that earlier in the segment, Jones had seemingly expressed support for removing Confederate emblems and names from military bases. But after he ended on that final note about a “tit-for-tat” approach provoking people to keep the bases’ names, a certain regular Fox News viewer began tweeting about this matter 45 minutes later: