You might remember early last week when The New York Times saw another exodus of progressive subscribers after it reported on President Trump’s speech about the El Paso mass shooting and filed it under the perfectly accurate headline, “Trump Urges Unity vs. Racism.”

But as we said, subscribers went nuts, and the paper changed its later Metro edition to read, “Assailing Hate But Not Guns.” If enough of your readers complain about something, just change it like Wikipedia.

The problem, obviously, is that original headline made no attempt to blame the president for inciting the shooter with his racist rhetoric — it made it sound as though the president was denouncing racism and white supremacy, and that narrative will not stand.

Slate on Thursday published a partial transcript of a “crisis town hall meeting” at the paper with executive editor Dean Baquet, and staffers wanted to know why the paper wasn’t calling Trump a racist more often.

But he’d obviously be lying, see? That’s why the headline was so offensive.

The transcript is well worth reading, and Baquet almost seems to understand what his job is: “… Our readers and some of our staff cheer us when we take on Donald Trump, but they jeer at us when we take on Joe Biden. They sometimes want us to pretend that he was not elected president, but he was elected president. And our job is to figure out why, and how, and to hold the administration to account. If you’re independent, that’s what you do.”

If you’re independent.


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