The New York Times has changed a headline after facing backlash for what critics said was its suggestion that white people represent America’s main culture.
On Thursday, The Daily, a podcast the Times releases five days a week, featured a headline that read, “The Rise of Right-Wing Extremism, and How We Missed It.”
Several media voices immediately took note, demanding to know whom “we” was referring to, with some noting it certainly wasn’t them.
“We = Y’all,” tweeted New Yorker staff writer Jelani Cobb, who is black.
His remark was echoed by a slew of other reporters and writers who slammed the paper for the ambiguous pronoun, arguing it used whiteness as a sort of default identity rather than explicitly naming who “missed” the resurgence of neo-Nazism in the U.S.
Joshua Benton of the Nieman Lab, a journalism think tank at Harvard University, then promptly pointed out that, just yesterday, his outlet published an article from one of the Times’ own opinion editors, Jenée Desmond, who asked, “Who exactly do we mean when we say ‘we’?” Her article was headlined, “It Finally Sinks in That Some People Aren’t White.”
The Times then edited its headline later Thursday morning, replacing “we” with “law enforcement” to be more specific.
When reached for comment, the Times directed HuffPost to a tweeted statement from The Daily’s host, Michael Barbaro.
“We’ve heard your feedback, which always makes us do better work,” he wrote. “In the episode, we talked about how law enforcement ignored the rise of right-wing extremism but our title didn’t reflect that as accurately as it should have, so we’ve updated it.”
The Times didn’t offer any further comment on the headline.