Amid a flood of criticism from Democratic presidential candidates and Trump critics, The New York Times changed the initial headline of its front-page story for Tuesday on President Trump's televised statement responding to the horrific mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.
In his prepared remarks on Monday, Trump condemned white supremacy and all forms of racial hatred, called for Americans to come together, and urged congressional leaders to work toward bipartisan solutions to help prevent future tragedies. The Times initially gave its coverage of Trump's speech the headline "TRUMP URGES UNITY VS. RACISM," as shown in a preview of Tuesday's edition circulated online. But, as The Daily Wire reported, after a flood of complaints from the Left, including several Democratic presidential hopefuls, the Times altered the headline to "ASSAILING HATE BUT NOT GUNS."
Early Wednesday morning, Trump called out the Times for altering its initial, more straightforward headline to a more editorializing headline at the behest of his critics. The Times' action, he suggested, was the definition of "fake news."
"'Trump Urges Unity Vs. Racism,' was the correct description in the first headline by the Failing New York Times, but it was quickly changed to, 'Assailing Hate But Not Guns,' after the Radical Left Democrats went absolutely CRAZY!" Trump wrote in a series of tweets. "Fake News — That’s what we’re up against..."
The president then highlighted a quote from former Bill Clinton advisor Mark Penn. "This is an astounding development in journalism. I’ve never seen it happen before, I’ve just never seen anything like this! Is that journalism today? I don’t think so!" reads the quote. "After 3 years I almost got a good headline from the Times!" Trump added.
Trump then posted another quote on the left-wing Dayton shooter, whose ideology has not been as publicized as the right-wing El Paso shooter: "Meanwhile, the Dayton, Ohio, shooter had a history of supporting political figures like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and ANTIFA," Trump quoted, citing OANN. "I hope other news outlets will report this as opposed to Fake News. Thank you!" he added.
As the Times' original front-page headline stated, Trump did in fact urge unity and unequivocally condemn racism in his televised remarks from the White House on Monday. "The shooter in El Paso posted a manifesto online, consumed by racist hate," he said. "In one voice our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America. Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart and devours the soul." He also called for greater national unity and bipartisan solutions. "We cannot allow ourselves to feel powerless. We can and will stop this evil contagion. In that task, we must honor the sacred memory of those we have lost, by acting as one people," he said. "Open wounds cannot heal if we are divided. We must seek real bipartisan solutions — we have to do that, in a bipartisan manner — that will truly make America safer and better for all."
A preview of the Times' Tuesday front page was met with outrage from the Left, with some even going so far as accusing the Times of promoting white supremacism — among them far-left Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who tweeted, "Let this front page serve as a reminder of how white supremacy is aided by — and often relies upon — the cowardice of mainstream institutions," she wrote.
With pressure mounting from Democratic presidential candidates and some Trump critic readers threatening to cancel subscriptions, the Times caved:
The move has drawn criticism from many on the right, including conservative author and Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro, who stated in his podcast Tuesday that the initial title from a journalistic perspective was a "very straightforward headline." The second headline, however, is "not actually a factual headline."
"The president actually called for certain gun regulations, including red-flag regulations," Shapiro pointed out. "That is editorializing. 'But not blank,' is not a factual reportage decision; that is an editorializing decision."