New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet explained on Tuesday his newspaper’s decision to change a Trump headline following widespread outrage among liberal pundits and Democratic politicians.
The headline initially read “TRUMP URGES UNITY VS. RACISM,” after a speech in which the president declared that “in one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy.”
“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,” Baquet said, according to The Hill.
“I understand the concern people have. Headlines matter. But I hope they read the coverage, which I will argue was strong,” Baquet added in a text.
Some of the loudest of those concerns came from 2020 Democratic presidential candidates.
Lives literally depend on you doing better, NYT. Please do. https://t.co/L4CpCb8zLi
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) August 6, 2019
“Lives literally depend on you doing better, NYT,” New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker tweeted.
— Beto O’Rourke (@BetoORourke) August 6, 2019
“Unbelievable,” added former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke.
As commentators and politicians continued to criticize the Times’ decision, the hashtag #CancelNYT became the top-trending topic on Twitter, The Hill reported.
Joan Walsh of The Nation said she was canceling her subscription over the headline.
I canceled my subscription. I know a lot of folks will tell me I’m wrong. I will miss it. But I can’t keep rewarding such awful news judgment. “Trump Urges Unity Against Racism” is almost as bad as their full-page Comey letter coverage just before 2016 election. Nobody learns. https://t.co/FNUyXN9TmB
— Joan Walsh (@joanwalsh) August 6, 2019
Times contributing Op-Ed writer Wajahat Ali called the headline “terrible.”
I write for the NYT. This is a terrible headline. https://t.co/ODa8SUK9wf
— Wajahat Ali (@WajahatAli) August 6, 2019
Following the outcry, The Times changed the headline to read “ASSAILING HATE BUT NOT GUNS,” according to the Washington Examiner.
While the president did not call for specific policy legislation related to guns in his speech, he did state his support for “strong background checks” in a Monday tweet.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.