Critics on the left are furious at the New York Times for a banner headline on the front page of its Tuesday edition that declares: “AS CHAOS SPREADS, TRUMP VOWS TO ‘END IT NOW’.”
The original headline, perhaps written to suggest that President Donald Trump had not, in fact, brought nationwide riots under control, offended the left because it suggested that the “protests” that had led to looting and riots across America were indeed “chaotic” and needed to end.
For example, former Democratic Party presidential candidate Julián Castro, who served in President Barack Obama’s cabinet, called the Times‘ headline a “fail” because it failed to describe Trump as a “budding dictator”:
The President is acting like a budding dictator.
— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) June 2, 2020
Former Obama White House staffers Dan Pfeiffer and Ben Rhodes joined the chorus of condemnation:
This is a terrible headline that doesn’t reflect what happened or what the paper’s reporters wrote.
Headline writing is not easy but it is nowhere near as hard as the NYT makes it https://t.co/npZAlazh6g
— Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer) June 2, 2020
If the New York Times thinks this accurately describes what happened today, I have no idea what country they've been living in – they should just let Trump write their headlines. https://t.co/zZn7H5cZiC
— Ben Rhodes (@brhodes) June 2, 2020
Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) claimed, “The New York Times headline writers are going to Both Sides the country to death.”
The New York Times headline writers are going to Both Sides the country to death. https://t.co/FvrDVE0sJe
— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) June 2, 2020
The Times‘ coverage throughout the crisis has been, as usual, deeply negative toward the president.
The paper’s editorial board thundered on Monday: “America’s Protests Won’t Stop Until Police Brutality Does.” The text appeared to excuse violence by crowds by accusing the police of instigating it or making it worse:
A vast majority of these protests have been peaceful. But not all. Where they are not, police officers are often the target of that violence. Officers may feel left with no good options in that moment, but how they respond does matter. Because it’s sometimes the police themselves who make matters worse by instigating physical confrontations, manhandling elderly people and pepper-spraying children. And wherever violence has broken out — whether committed by law enforcement, outside agitators or rioters and looters — it has provided an excuse to shift the debate away from the sources of the original despair.
The Times editorial also repeated a familiar talking point from Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison — who tweeted his support for the violent Antifa group, now a domestic terror organization, in 2018 — that claimed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. condoned riots by claiming that “a riot is the language of the unheard.”
It neglected to mention that Dr. King said in the same speech: “I am still committed to militant, powerful, massive, non-violence as the most potent weapon in grappling with the problem from a direct action point of view. I’m absolutely convinced that a riot merely intensifies the fears of the white community while relieving the guilt. And I feel that we must always work with an effective, powerful weapon and method that brings about tangible results.”
Update: The Times changed its headline in the late edition. It now reads: “TRUMP THREATENS TO SEND TROOPS INTO STATES: President Deploys the Police for a Photo Op.”
This marks at least the third time the Times has folded to left-wing pressure in the past year.
Last August, the Times changed a headline that originally read, “Trump Urges Unity Vs. Racism,” to one that read, “Assailing Hate But Not Guns.”
In March, it changed “Democrats Block Action on $1.8 Trillion Stimulus” to “Democrats block Action on Stimulus Plan, Seeking Worker Protections” and then to “Partisan Divide Threatens Deal on Rescue Bill.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.