NYT changes front-page mass shootings headline after backlash from Dem 2020 hopefuls
The US newspaper got into trouble after print editor Tom Jolly shared a preview of Tuesday's front page. The headline on the story about the aftermath of the deadly mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio was 'Trump urges unity vs. racism.' Its sub-headline read as 'Condemns 'slaughters,' but says little of gun control.'
In a tweet, Trump had called for "strong background checks" on gun-owners but did not raise this point in a follow-up speech, focusing on other measures to prevent mass shootings instead.Also on rt.com Democrats use mass shootings in attempt to gain 2020 advantage… what else is new?
One of the first to take issue with NYT’s headline was popular polling expert Nate Silver. “Not sure ‘TRUMP URGES UNITY VS. RACISM’ is how I would have framed the story,” he wrote. Silver’s tweet, which quickly went viral, got more than 20,000 ‘likes’ and was shared 3,600 times.
Many slammed the headline as inappropriate; some users on social media claimed they had cancelled their subscriptions to the paper because of the way it handled the story. Several of the Democratic Party's candidates for the 2020 presidential election also jumped in to bash the Times.
Cancelled my subscription 11 minutes ago. pic.twitter.com/Bd9qCfWobq— Austin Barker (@AustinBarker) August 6, 2019
Senator Cory Booker wrote: "Lives literally depend on you doing better, NYT. Please do," while former representative from Texas, Beto O'Rourke tweeted "Unbelievable."
"Hey, @nytimes – what happened to 'The Truth Is Worth It?" wrote New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, referring to NYT's slogan. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, meanwhile, argued that the paper's headline did not reflect the story.
Some Democrats and left-leaning pundits have been insisting that Trump's rhetoric emboldens shooters to commit massacres like the one in El Paso, where the suspect allegedly published an anti-immigrant manifesto. One such view was put forward by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who also had harsh words for the NYT. The paper's front page serves as "a reminder of how white supremacy is aided by – and often relies upon – the cowardice of mainstream institutions."
The intense backlash prompted the New York Times to roll out an updated version of the front page, with the headline changed to 'Assailing hate but not guns' and sub-headline changed to 'Trump, in speech, says little on curbing weapons.'
The original headline "was bad," the paper's spokesperson told the Washington Post.
The change did not stop the criticism, however, as some still believed the NYT did not do the story justice. "That's just as bad and makes less sense," one person said. Another argued that the new headline was "still trash" and the newspaper needs to be "better than this."
That’s just as bad and makes less sense.— liz avenue (@elizghost12) August 6, 2019
Nope, still trash.You're the New York Times, you need to be better than this.— Heather Hughson (@HNHughson) August 6, 2019
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