The New York Times on Monday changed a headline in its print edition following intense criticism from journalists, the public, Democratic politicians and candidates for president over claims that it inaccurately portrayed the president’s comments following two mass shootings over the weekend that left dozens dead.
The original front-page headline, “TRUMP URGES UNITY VS. RACISM,” was later changed to “ASSAILING HATE BUT NOT GUNS” following the backlash.
As Fox News noted, some took to social media to claim they had ended their subscriptions to the newspaper over the original headline.
“The headline was bad and has been changed for the second edition,” a spokesperson for The New York Times told The Washington Post.
According to the report from The Washington Post, the original headline began to draw criticism around 9 p.m. Monday following a tweet from FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver, who included a photo of the front page preview and said that he would not have used that language to frame the story.
Some of the criticism came from 2020 contenders for the Democratic Party’s nomination for president.
New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand quoted Silver’s tweet and quipped, “that’s not what happened.”
Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey wrote in a tweet that he believed lives depended on the newspaper and directed the 167-year-old newspaper to be better.
New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez weighed in and criticized the newspaper in a tweet late Monday, writing that the headline served as a reminder about white supremacy.
Let this front page serve as a reminder of how white supremacy is aided by - and often relies upon - the cowardice of mainstream institutions. https://t.co/ynjgtT66yI— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) August 6, 2019
Some defended the publication, even though they also disagreed with The New York Times’ initial phrasing.
“Only a knucklehead would cancel his newspaper subscription over a bad headline,” Politico columnist Jack Shafer wrote on Twitter.
But even after The New York Times said it changed the headline in future editions of the Tuesday paper, some noted that the original headline would still appear on doorsteps and newsstands throughout the country.
Columnist Connie Schultz, who is married to Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown, took to Twitter on Tuesday to write that she was disappointed in the newspaper. Schultz called President Trump racist and described the original headline as a “betrayal.”
The New York Times changed its headline for the second edition, but this is the one that landed on our doorstep & is displayed in storefronts throughout our majority-black zip code. What a betrayal, pretending this president is not the racist we know him to be. pic.twitter.com/qEaj0HJqK2— Connie Schultz (@ConnieSchultz) August 6, 2019
The president spoke Monday following two mass shootings over the weekend in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio that left a total of 31 people dead.
While police have not yet explained a motive for the Dayton shooting in which the 24-year-old gunman killed nine people including his own sister, the shooter in El Paso seemingly posted a manifesto to online forum 8chan in which he detailed his plan to stop an “invasion” of Hispanic people. As The New York Times noted, the shooter’s language has mirrored that of the president.
In the speech, which Trump seemingly read from a teleprompter, the president mentioned ending partisanship and urged for unity following the shootings. As The Washington Post noted, people who criticized the original headline believed The New York Times did not adequately provide context about the president’s speech, which did not mention gun control legislation or past rhetoric about minorities.