The editor of Newsweek magazine explained to Breitbart News just why his publication drastically altered an article comparing the president of the United States to one of America’s most notorious serial killers.
Newsweek titled the Melissa Mathews piece that ran eight days ago “How Murderer Charles Manson and Donald Trump Used Language to Gain Followers.” The article that replaced it, titled “How Charles Manson Used Language to Gain Followers,” never mentions or even indirectly references one of the previous article’s two main subjects, Donald Trump. Instead of an article juxtaposing Trump with Manson, it now focuses exclusively on the mastermind behind the murder of Sharon Tate and at least eight others.
Newsweek inserted a vague but powerful one-sentence editor’s note following the revised piece. The addendum read: “An earlier version of this story did not meet Newsweek’s editorial standards and has been revised accordingly.”
How did it not meet the magazine’s standards?
“The piece was changed because we realized that although the expert interviewed did compare the public speaking styles of the two men, the similarities were so prosaic/innocuous that they didn’t justify the attention we initially gave it in the headline,” Newsweek editor Bob Roe explained to Breitbart News via email. “We also determined that what he said about Manson was interesting, but what he said about Trump was not interesting.”
In one subsequently deleted passage, Mark Smaller, a former president of the American Psychoanalytic Association, explains: “Our current president speaks in an emotional or affective way to large numbers of people in our country who feel a kind of alienation or disconnection from the government.” This followed a claim made by the author that convicted murderer Charles Manson, who died last week, employed a similar style. Some of the characteristics of the two men highlighted in the Newsweek article appeared to apply to most leaders, which perhaps explains why Roe called such similarities “prosaic.”
The dramatic change followed a Breitbart piece posted the same day critical of the original Newsweek article. Following outrage from Breitbart readers and others disgusted by Newsweek’s Manson-Trump comparison, the magazine opted to drastically alter the controversial article instead of pulling it entirely.