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NYT Flubs Headline On Trump’s Felon Status

NYT Flubs Headline On Trump's Felon Status
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Donald Trump mug shot

Source: Fulton County Jail / Fulton County Sheriff’s Office

Recently, the campaign for President Joe Biden released an ad highlighting the fact that his presumed opponent in the 2024 presidential race, Donald Trump, is a felon now that his hush money trial resulted in him being convicted of a whopping 34 felonies.

Meanwhile, the New York Times is getting dragged up and down the internet for making the somewhat common media mistake of using equivocating language in a headline for something the publication could have just stated straight out.

“Biden Campaign Ad Paints Trump as a Felon,” the NYT’s headline read.

The issue with the chosen headline was obvious—Donald Trump is a felon. If Trump is such a yuge felon that if he had 33 felonies expunged from his record, he would still be a felon. The pro-Biden ad couldn’t “paint” Trump as a felon any more than it could paint Trump as a man whose skin looks like it faded after it was painted bright orange. 

To be fair, the media is often accused of trying to “paint” Trump as a racist despite the fact that Trump does the best job of that simply by providing the media with the words that come out of his own mouth. Still, when it comes to the Times‘ misguided headline, which, frankly, should have been caught by an experienced editor and revamped before it was published, there’s a clear degree of rich, white privilege at play here. A regular-degular felon convicted of a blue-collar crime wouldn’t be afforded the luxury of headlines that would go out of their way to “paint” them as anything less than the felon they are. It wouldn’t even be a thought to call them anything else. It should be the same for Trump or any other member of the most privileged class in America who also happens to be a convicted felon.

Anyway, the Times eventually caught on to the backlash and changed the headline to something more appropriate: “Biden Campaign Ad Calls Attention to Trump’s Felon Status.” But by the time the change was made, it was too late. The internet had already gotten ahold of the original article title, and the dragging had already commenced.

It’s OK to call Trump what he is. A bigot. A compulsive liar. A would-be election thief…

A felon. We can definitely call him a felon. We can call him that 34 times, in fact.

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