Last month we introduced you to Chris Mapp, a U.S. Senate hopeful from South Texas who would go on to be crushed by John Cornyn in yesterday's Republican primary. He's the guy who referred to illegal immigrants as "wetbacks" and said that ranchers should be allowed to shoot them on sight.
That's at least what The Dallas Morning News reported in its endorsement of Cornyn: "South Texas businessman Chris Mapp, 53, told this editorial board that ranchers should be allowed to shoot on sight anyone illegally crossing the border on to their land."
Mapp claims he never said anything of the sort and is now suing the newspaper for defamation.
The DMN will presumably stand by its report and presumably has documentation of the interview; editorial board editor Keven Ann Willey has not yet responded to an email seeking comment. (Willey's reply: "Yes re standing behind and yes re a record.")
In Mapp's version of events, he told the ed board, "We can't have illegal immigrants, drug cartels, human traffickers or terrorists coming across our border. Our borders can either be respected by choice or force, and so far choice hasn't worked."
The Morning News twisted his words, and it did so maliciously with "the full expectation that other news agencies would pick up this publication and further sensationalize it." The Observer is name-checked as an example, as is Fox News Latino, Huffington Post and Wonkette.
The result? Mapp says his reputation has been irreparably damaged, and he has become the target of numerous death threats, delivered in emails and Internet comments, such as:
-"I hope you die a slow death";
-"'wetbacks' shoot his a** when you see him!!", "yeah I would like to shoot u....";
-"This guy is scum. Shoot all dumbf*cks like him on sight!";
-"I'm going to his house at night and wait for him to come out and I'm going to shoot him right in the forehead lol"; and
-"Let's Be-head him like El Chapo would".
To be clear, Mapp isn't disputing his repeated use of the term "wetback." In the suit, he quotes himself as saying it to the editorial board. But he told the San Antonio Express-News on election day that he'll never use it again. Promise.
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.