Original headline read ‘Trump urges unity vs racism’ – prompting accusations that newspaper was feeding president’s narrative
The newspaper’s original headline said ‘Trump urges unity vs racism’. Photograph: Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images
The New York Times was forced to change its front-page headline for Tuesday’s newspaper amid an intense backlash over its portrayal of Donald Trump’s statement on the twin mass shootings that left 31 people dead.
The original headline read “TRUMP URGES UNITY VS RACISM”. Many people complained that the wording fed Trump’s claims that those who criticised his persistent anti-immigrant rhetoric – some of which was parroted in the El Paso gunman’s alleged manifesto – were playing politics.
The headline first gained widespread attention when it was tweeted by the prominent statistician Nate Silver:
As Silver’s tweet was being shared thousands of times, the New York Times changed the headline for the second print edition to “ASSAILING HATE BUT NOT GUNS”.
A Times spokesperson acknowledged to the Washington Post: “The headline was bad and has been changed for the second edition.”
But it seemed the damage had already been done. Many prominent Democrats, including several presidential candidates, accused the New York Times of distorting Trump’s teleprompter address. And some people even threatened to cancel their subscriptions.
From Democratic 2020 presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand:
From the Democratic 2020 candidate Cory Booker:
The Democratic 2020 candidate Beto O’Rourke, who used to represent part of El Paso in the House of Representatives, offered a one-word response:
The New York mayor, Bill de Blasio, who is also running for president, mocked his city’s newspaper using a tagline from its ads:
And Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez condemned what she called “the cowardice of mainstream institutions”.