New York Times editor explains about-face on ‘blackface’ in Mark Herring headline

New York Times editor explains about-face on 'blackface' in Mark Herring headline.

by Vaishnavee Sharma · February 7, 2019
A New York Times editor took to Twitter after the outlet faced criticism for using the phrase “dark makeup” instead of “blackface” in a headline about Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring’s confession he dressed up as a rapper in 1980.
hey @nytimes this is some racist bs. IT’S BLACKFACE. BLACKFACE. jesus christ, this is why we have these problems in the first place! call RACISM RACISM. pic.twitter.com/KboYvqKbpf

— Oliver Willis (@owillis) February 6, 2019

“Today we published an article about an episode of racist behavior by Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring,” Patrick Healy, the Times’ politics editor wrote. “In doing so, our initial story, headline, tweet and alert used a phrase that wasn’t appropriate.”
Today we published an article about an episode of racist behavior by Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring. In doing so, our initial story, headline, tweet and alert used a phrase that wasn’t appropriate. As politics editor, I want to share what happened https://t.co/USrkuJFNvX

— Patrick Healy (@patrickhealynyt) February 6, 2019

The Times’ initial coverage was based on Herring’s statement that he wore “brown makeup” in college when dressing up as a rapper for a party, Healy said. “We relied on Herring’s quote to inform our initial language; we used the phrase dark makeup in our story.”

After facing criticism for side-stepping the word, however, the Times’ Twitter profile quickly took down a tweet featuring the original headline, replaced it with a a link to the updated story, and added a disclaimer.
This replaces an earlier tweet that we have since deleted that was inadequately framed.

— The New York Times (@nytimes) February 6, 2019

“The coverage should have said blackface,” Healy said, and the change was made once that realization occurred. “It was never my intent to hide the change we were making. This was a breaking news story, and the headlines and text in breaking news stories are often revised and updated.”

The story was also updated “because blackface was the best word to convey the behavior and carried the appropriate connotations,” Healy said.
Our reporters are focused on obtaining accurate and timely information, and they are doing a great job. We updated our coverage to say blackface because blackface was the best word to convey the behavior and carried the appropriate connotations.

— Patrick Healy (@patrickhealynyt) February 6, 2019

The Times’ gaffe comes a week after it published a review of the movie “Mary Poppins Returns” that criticized the Oscar-nominated film in its headline for “Shameful Flirting With Blackface.”

Washington Examiner · by Vaishnavee Sharma · February 7, 2019

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