By now I’m sure you’ve heard about the furor over the New York Times headline covering President Trump’s remarks after the horrific shootings in El Paso and Dayton. In case you missed it, the Times‘ initial headline was TRUMP URGES UNITY VS. RACISM.
The newspaper changed the headline to ASSAILING HATE BUT NOT GUNS, particularly after blowback from many on the left, including multiple Democratic presidential candidates.
New York Times editor Dean Baquet publicly admitted that the original headline was bad, but Mediate reports that he claims the change had nothing to do with pushback from Democrats:
“It was written on deadline and when it was passed along for approval we all saw it was a bad headline and changed it pretty quickly,” Bacuet told the Daily Beast.
“The fact that Beto O’Rourke and Cory Booker didn’t like it didn’t influence me,” Baquet assured Politico. “I don’t need the entire political field to tell me we wrote a bad headline. It was evident.” (emphasis in the original)
But the Daily Beast is reporting that Baquet had even stronger words for the headline in a staff meeting:
During a hastily arranged meeting, lasting well over an hour, top Times leadership addressed the paper’s staff about public criticism the outlet has faced in recent weeks centering around its coverage of Trump, race, and politics.
The top editor reiterated that the headline was a mistake—“It was a f***ing mess,” he told the staff—but joined other newsroom leaders in cautioning staff not to overreact to Twitter comments about the paper’s editorial decisions.
Look, it’s all well and good that the New York Times claims that they won’t allow Twitter outrage to determine their headline – even when it comes from pretty prominent Democrats.
I’ll let you draw your own conclusions, but I can’t help but question the timing of their headline change, especially considering that they replaced a bad headline with one that’s almost as bad.