UPDATE: A spokesperson for Politico told The Daily Wire that the headline was not “quickly changed” but was kept up for several hours and noted the reference to Rahm Emanuel. The spokesperson also said headlines are routinely changed “for a variety of different reasons – from AB testing to changing up the story lineup on the homepage.” The article has been updated to reflect this response.
On Friday morning, Politico Magazine published an opinion piece from author and founding editor of Politico John Harris titled, “Just Another Day In F***nutsville.”
The outlet updated the headline to read: “Trump Killed the Seriousness of Impeachment.” For a while, the URL of the article still included the original title.
Steve Guest, the rapid response director for the Republican National Committee, flagged the headline and included a screenshot of the original headline.
“Politico’s original headline: ‘Just another day in Fucknutsville.’ Politico’s updated headline: ‘How Trump killed the seriousness of impeachment,’” Guest tweeted. “But they can’t change the URL. It still says ‘fucknutsville.’”
Politico’s original headline: “Just another day in Fucknutsville.”
Politico’s updated headline: “How Trump killed the seriousness of impeachment”
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) September 27, 2019
Andrew Follett, an analyst at the Club For Growth, provided a screenshot of the unchanged URL.
“What’s truly shocking about this is that they instantly tried to cover up their potty-mouths,” Follett tweeted. “#FakeNews.”
— Andrew Follett (@AndrewCFollett) September 27, 2019
The article in question is about the tactics media outlets have used this week to make sure that President Donald Trump’s conversation with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky looked as damaging and illegal as possible. It begins:
Big font, double-decker headlines, homepage takeovers: It’s been a big week in the news business for visual devices like these.
Editors turn to these once- or twice-a-year headlines to signal to the reader something more than that the news is BIG. Almost by definition in the modern media environment, when the news is big enough to justify big type it’s also news that the reader already knows. Heard about it, probably, within moments after it happened.
The term “F***nutsville” comes from President Barack Obama’s former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel using it as a slur against people who don’t see every news story as the outrage the media wants them to see it as.
Harris goes on in his article to compare Democrats’ most recent calls for impeachment (which have come every few weeks during the Trump presidency) to the impeachment trials of President Richard M. Nixon and Bill Clinton.
Harris is correct that “Impeachment proceedings used to be news of unquestionable gravity,” but he is wrong about how caused the lack of seriousness. It was not Trump, but the media’s relentless and embarrassing attempts to destroy him. This week, those “big fond, double-decker headlines, homepage takeovers” misinformed readers about anything and everything relating to Trump’s call with Zelensky.
The original “bombshell” was a whistleblower complaint, but it turned out the whistleblower never heard the phone call and was merely reporting a rumor. When the Trump administration released the rough transcript of the phone call, numerous media outlets reported that Trump asked a “favor” of Zelensky – to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden. The outlets cut out more than 500 words of the transcript to arrive at this conclusion. The actual “favor,” Trump asked for was for Ukraine to cooperate with the U.S. investigation into the origins of Russiagate – the two-year-long claim by media outlets and Democrats that Trump colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election. Now, it turns out the whistleblower was a “CIA officer” who may have been a holdover from former CIA Director John Brennan – who helped spark the Russiagate hoax.