Accuracy in Media

The Washington Post denied that it changed the headline of Wednesday’s paper after being hounded by complaints from liberals who didn’t see President Trump’s State of the Union speech the same way its editors did.

The original headline said Trump’s speech was “A call for bipartisanship,” which was widely criticized on Twitter. The Post then changed the headline  calling it a “new American moment.”

Among those complaining was former Obama senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer, liberal blogger Matthew Yglesias, and civil rights activist and columnist Shan King.

The change was then celebrated on Twitter.

The Post denied that online complaints had anything to do with the headline change in a statement to the Washington Examiner:

As the speech was being delivered and observed, editors quickly concluded that a different headline would better reflect the full speech. So, a change was made between editions. The headline was again changed for the final edition.

Like most newspapers, the Post often rethinks, refines and rewrites headlines from one edition to the next based on its own internal discussions about what best captures the nature of a story. Headline changes last night were based exclusively on our customary internal conversations.

While it’s true that headlines are often changed from one edition to the next, the changes the Post made were clearly meant to appease its base of readers who saw nothing bipartisan about Trump’s efforts to reach across the aisle Tuesday night.

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