NYT Top Editor Laments Trump ‘Unity Vs. Racism’ Headline Was A ‘F*cking Mess’

speaks onstage at IGNITION: Future of Media at Time Warner Center on November 30, 2017 in New York City.
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 30: Dean Baquet, executive editor of The New York Times, speaks onstage at IGNITION: Future of Media at Time Warner Center on November 30, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images)
August 13, 2019 11:23 a.m.

During a recent town hall with New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet, the top editor admitted to staff that the newspaper could improve its coverage of race in the Trump era and lamented the headline that sparked uproar last week was a “fucking mess,” the Daily Beast reported. 

Baquet also said the person who wrote the headline — which suggested in the wake of a mass shooting that Trump had actually called for unity rather than reiterating a checklist of Republican talking points on guns — was “sick” over the whole ordeal.

“He feels terrible,” Baquet reportedly said.

But the top editor also cautioned staff against allowing the Twitterverse to spur reactions within the newsroom and the way it conducts its journalism.

The Times was hit with widespread criticism last week when it published the headline: “Trump Urges Unity Vs. Racism.” While Trump did call out white supremacists in his speech following a weekend of deadly gun violence, he also regurgitated the typical line of conservative reactions to mass shootings, which blamed everything but guns and gun laws for shooting violence.

The headline was quickly changed to “Assailing Hate But Not Guns” for its second edition of the newspaper and editors admitted it was a “bad” headline.

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