As the United States reels from multiple mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio resulting in 31 dead Americans, various outlets are grappling with how best to cover such horrific developments.
In the case of El Paso, the shooter was radicalized by white supremacists on the social network 8chan. His manifesto uses similar rhetoric to that used by President Donald Trump, like referring to Mexican immigration as an “invasion.”
Trump denounced white supremacy in a speech addressing the incidents, but for many, the damage was already done and his rhetoric was largely to blame.
That’s why some readers weren’t satisfied with coverage of the developments on Tuesday morning’s New York Times. The particular point of complaint was the paper’s headline:
Many found it laughable that Trump reading generic condolences from a teleprompter could be taken as a serious attempt at uniting a country, especially after weeks of racist rhetoric targeting Democratic Congress members of color.
People made sure to let the Times know.
As outcry over the headline minimizing Trump’s racism continued to build, a spokesperson for the Times told the Washington Post, “The headline was bad and has been changed for the second edition.”
A revised headline soon followed.
The second attempt still left a lot to be desired.
Others offered suggestions.
It’s clear that many publications have work to do when it comes to covering this jarring moment in American history. Facing an onslaught of “fake news” accusations from the president’s supporters, some outlets overcompensate with attempts at neutrality that veer into untruths. It was only recently that some mainstream outlets began calling the president’s racist tweets racist.