Trump Headline Corrector - February-April 2024

Disgraceful media headlines help normalize a guy who cheered the January 6 insurrection, has 91 felony indictments, and was found guilty of rape and defamation in a civil court

Trump Headline Corrector - February-April 2024
Original image by Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons. Photoshopped by author. Licensing: CC BY-SA 2.0
Trump Headline Corrector

Bookmark this February-March 2024 edition, as updates are made frequently.

February-April 2024

New York Times, April 14, 2024

Headline: Four Years Out, Some Voters Look Back at Trump’s Presidency More Positively

Subhead: A new poll by The New York Times and Siena College finds that voters think highly of the former president’s record on the economy, but memories of his divisiveness largely remain intact.

Comment: Is a comment really needed here?

Corrected Headline: Poll Shows That Some Voters Have Forgotten Why Trump Had Record-Setting Unfavorable Approval Numbers

Corrected Subhead: A new poll shows voters have forgotten the devastated economy Trump left behind for Biden to clean up.

New York Times, April 14, 2024

Headline: Sununu Says Trump ‘Contributed’ to Insurrection, but Still Has His Support

Comment: The New York Times acts as if it is normal for the governor of a major industrial state to abandon basic, moral principles. One tiny comfort: One of the NYT headline writers managed to sneak the word “Insurrection” past his/her editors (the Times usually refers to the events of January 6 as a riot these days).

Corrected Headline: Sununu Acknowledges Trump’s Role in Insurrection, but Will Campaign for Him Anyway

Washington Post, April 13, 2024

Headline: Strong economy can be double-edged sword for Biden if rates stay high

Subhead: President Biden has spent his presidency touting the country’s economic growth. But the economy’s unfettered strength is becoming more of a political liability for the White House.

Comment: This is almost self-parody

Corrected Headline: Strong economy for Biden could carry him easily to a second term

Corrected Subhead: After inheriting a decimated economy from Trump, Biden roars into the November election hoping to address remaining issue in a second term

New York Times, April 12, 2024

Headline: Inside Donald Trump’s Embrace of the Jan. 6 Rioters

Comment: Another prominent feature article that downplays the insurrection and the insurrectionist in chief. The article, co-authored by the New York Times official Trump Normalization reporter Maggie Haberman, portrays Trump’s embrace of the January 6 rioters as something new (he has always embraced them, despite his occasional social media posts to the contrary of the bulk of his posts).

And it doesn’t talk about the criminal element or the importance of his violent bully pulpit until the ninth paragraph:

“It normalizes violence as a legitimate solution to political grievances,” said Robert Pape, a scholar at the University of Chicago who has studied American political violence in the wake of the Capitol attack. “And so it makes it more likely that politically angry people will resort to it.”

The New York Times no longer calls the events of January 6 an insurrection, despite the fact that the insurrectionists intended to force Michael Pence to install Trump as President.

Corrected Headline: Trump accelerates his support of the January 6 insurrection through increasingly violent rhetoric and social media posts

New York Times, April 12, 2024

Headline: A Closer Look at a Slight Shift in the Polls

Comment: Nate Cohn again, this time in a story about an aggregation of polls, is constitutionally incapable of resisting the urge to change a previous narrative about a shift in polls, or acknowledge the distinct possibility that the previous New York Times/Siena polls were flawed. Polling that continues to suggest such a tight race between Trump and Biden is almost assuredly wrong. Do you personally know anyone planning to vote for Trump outside of the red zones? These kinds of articles should be deep dives into what is wrong with the current polling infrastructure.

Corrected Headline: As More People Focus Attention on Presidential Race, Some Polls Shift Closer to Reality.

New York Times, April 12, 2024

Headline: Pro-Palestinian Protesters Complicate Democrats’ Ability to Campaign

Comment: Not Trump-specific. A high-profile video that emphasizes division and discontent in the Democratic Party over Gaza. The emphasis should be on how the Democratic Party has two distinct interest groups to appease, those who support Israel and those who are infuriated by Israel’s disproportional response to Hamas’ attack. Pro-Israel folks can’t turn to the Republican Party because it has lost its way.

In these kinds of stories, the emphasis should always be on how America currently only has one legitimate political party that has to appeal to a huge tent of disparate interests.

Corrected Headline: As “Normies” Flee the Republican Party, Gaza Demonstrates the Challenges of a Bigger Tent in the Democratic Party

New York Times, April 10, 2024

Headline: After Trump Broadside, Surveillance Bill Collapses in the House

Comment: The New York Times loves itself some strong, powerful Trumpy Trumpleness. They should include an AI-generated photo of Trump wearing a cape and flexing muscles. Trump doesn’t want the bill because he claims the surveillance is about him, although it isn’t. The Bill was passed two days later. He’s not as powerful as the New York Times portrays him.

Corrected Headline: Weak Republican Leaders Again Fall Prey to Trump’s Social Media Tantrums, Allowing Surveillance Bill to Die in House

New York Times, April 10, 2024

Headline: Trump Says He Wouldn’t Sign a Federal Abortion Ban, Criticizing Arizona Ruling

Comment: We all know he’s a liar. This is an easy headline change. This may seem like a subtle change, but cumulatively, these kinds of differences become important to the body politic.

Corrected Headline: Trump Claims He Wouldn’t Sign a Federal Abortion Ban As Arizona Guts Women’s Health Care

New York Times, April 9, 2024

Headline: Swing-State Republicans Embrace Trump’s New Abortion Stance

Comment: The New York Times ignores the obvious: That Trump’s Supreme Court picks gutted women’s healthcare in America.

Corrected Headline: Swing-State Republicans Join Trump in Encouraging States To Ban Abortion

New York Times, April 8, 2024

Headline: Biden and Other Democrats Tie Trump to Limits on Abortion Rights

Comment: The New York Times buries the lede yet again. The lede exists somewhere in this third paragraph of the story:

In a blistering 604-word statement, President Biden said via his campaign that Mr. Trump was “responsible for creating the cruelty and the chaos that has enveloped America since the Dobbs decision,” referring to the 2022 Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson, which overturned Roe v. Wade.

Corrected Headline: In Blistering Statement, Biden Reminds Voters Who Killed Roe

New York Times Simulator, April 4, 2024

Headline: Your choice

Comment: This isn’t about a bad headline. This is a comment about a cute online game by an outfit called molleindustria that calls itself (themselves?) “a project of reappropriation of video games, a call for the radicalization of popular culture, an independent game developer.”

They’ve developed a simple game that lets you change existing New York Times headlines to better satisfy their vested interests (such as big corporations, the police, and Israel). When you choose a pro-Israel headline, for example, the readership goes up. The same thing happens when

I love the concept. But it was a limited to existing alternate headlines. I thought it would be more fun if they let the player edit the headline, but I suppose it would have been harder to create reader estimates that way.

New York Times, April 3, 2024

Headline: Many Democrats Are Worried Trump Will Beat Biden. This One Isn’t.

Comment: The reason Democrats are worried about Trump is because mainstream media outlets like the Times are not only normalizing him. They are making a feeble, psychologically unwell man with a clear case of dementia who is no longer capable of stringing together a coherent paragraph when he speaks appear invincible. Please stop.

Corrected Headline: Simon Rosenberg  Pushes Back Against the Questionable Media Arc of a Likely Trump Victory

New York Times, April 1, 2024

Headline: The Church of Trump: How He’s Infusing Christianity Into His Movement

Comment: A high-profile article on how Trump attracts evangelical Christians into his cult. The Times, as usual, buries the lede, which is several paragraphs from the lede paragraph:

Mr. Trump has long defied conventional wisdom as an unlikely but irrefutable evangelical hero.

He has been married three times, has been repeatedly accused of sexual assault, has been convicted of business fraud and has never showed much interest in church services. Last week, days before Easter, he posted on his social media platform an infomercial-style video hawking a $60 Bible that comes with copies of some of the nation’s founding documents and the lyrics to Lee Greenwood’s song “God Bless the U.S.A.”

Instead, the lede paragraph is:

Long known for his improvised and volatile stage performances, former President Donald J. Trump now tends to finish his rallies on a solemn note.

There’s nothing solemn about Donald Trump. Please stop.

Most stories like this, by a more responsible news outlet, would take this opportunity to compare him to Jim Jones.

Corrected Headline: The Makings of a Cult: How Trump Has Manipulated the Media to Form a Dangerous Political Cult

New York Times, March 27, 2024

Headline: Trump’s Media Company Worth Nearly $8 Billion on First Trading Day

Comment: It’s a scam, and the New York Times knows it. This bubble shall not last.

Corrected Headline: After Taking a $49 Million Loss and Only Earning $3.3 Million in Revenue, Trump’s Media Company Bilks Billions From Investors

New York Times, March 25, 2024

Headline: The presidential race has been reduced to both the Democratic and Republican presumptive nominees, 81 and 77 years old, calling each other “confused.”

Screenshot of Maggie Haberman's comment from New York Times Live update page on Trump’s hush money trial

Comment: This isn’t a headline, it’s a comment on the New York Times’ live update page covering Trump’s hush money trial. Haberman is a classic Trump-normalizing troll. Here, she editorializes on a statement issued by the White House about how pathetic Trump is, and she just can’t help herself. It’s also false. The presidential race has not been reduced to the two candidates calling each other “confused.” The race has, however, been undermined by Haberman’s incessant normalization techniques regarding Trump.

Correction: Can’t Haberman report the news without editorializing? Did they teach this in her journalism school, or did she learn this from a mentor somewhere?

Politico Playbook Newsletter, March 23, 2024


Comment: Okay, this isn’t about a headline. It’s about a newsletter that builds to a terrible subheadline in the middle. Bear with me if you can.

Regarding the budget compromise that funded the government again for a few months, Politico quoted Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.):

“And after all of that delay — how different ultimately was the outcome?”

Then they asked:

Put a different way, did the ouster of KEVIN McCARTHY by GOP hard-liners over his budget negotiations with the White House lead to better outcomes for conservatives?
Almost certainly not.

First, there were the optics: the embarrassing three-week process to install MIKE JOHNSON as speaker that helped push congressional job approval to historically low levels (11%!).

They followed with some perfectly reasonable critiques (the ellipses contain details I am not including here):

Then there was the damage to the GOP majority… Then there’s the process… And then there’s the policy… In the end, the funding legislation hews closely to the spending levels McCarthy struck with Biden last summer…

They spend a bit more time evaluating all the Republican nonsense, but then ruin it with this:

But that is overshadowed by the anger on the right:

No, it wasn’t overshadowed by anger on the right. The story was the budget resolution was passed. MTG’s hissy fit is not a story. Ignore it. She’s an idiot.

Correction: Seriously. Just ignore that woman. She’s a freak.

New York Times, March 17, 2024

Headline: How Trump’s Allies Are Winning the War Over Disinformation

Comment: I’ve been after the New York Times for their egregious mishandling of headlines for a couple of months. It’s only fair to commend them for a job well done when they do it. This was a major and important story about media manipulation that was a prominent feature of the Times’ discourse for their Sunday news day.

Would I have written the headline differently? Maybe put a little less emphasis on Trump “winning” (NY Times headline writers just can’t seem to help themselves) and more on how America is losing? Probably. But I’m happy that the story, written by Jim Rutenberg and Steven Lee Myers, received a lot of play and their special “graphics” treatment.

And what about the elephant in the room: The New York Times itself? No mention of how the media disinformation campaign has impacted editorial decisions at the New York Times.

I’ll give them a mulligan on this one. Such introspection would have probably caused the editors to block the story. In fairness, too, this story is mostly about how MAGA has successfully blocked attempts to rein in the lies on social media, particularly about the 2020 election.

Since this is the Trump Headline Corrector, even though I’m pleased this story received a lot of play, I’ll offer an alternative headline, anyway.

Corrected Headline: How Trump’s Election Lies Could Throw the Election His Way

New York Times, March 17, 2024


Comment: No headline because no dedicated story in the New York Times of Trump’s salute to convicted January 6 insurrectionists. I saw no specific coverage in the New York Times about Trump’s salute to January 6 insurrectionists at his rally in Vandalia, Ohio on Saturday, March 16. According to numerous reports, a loud MAGAphone announced over a PA system:

“Please rise for the horribly and unfairly treated January 6 hostages.”

You can’t make this stuff up.

Then, Trump saluted the convicts, calling them “unbelievable patriots” and “hostages.”

This should have been a front-page headline in the Sunday New York Times. Instead, it was buried in the article below.

Trump’s messaging has been clear. If he doesn’t win, it will be a bloodbath. Led, presumably, by more unbelievable patriots.

Corrected Headline: Evoking Images of Civil War, Trump Celebrates Convicted January 6 Insurrectionists with Military Salute

New York Times, March 16, 2024

Headline: Trump Says Some Migrants Are ‘Not People’ and Predicts a ‘Blood Bath’ if He Loses

Subhead: In a caustic and discursive speech in Ohio, former President Donald J. Trump once again doubled down on a doomsday vision of the United States.

Comment: You did okay in the headline, NY Times. Why was your subhead so weak?

Corrected Subhead: In a caustic and rambling toxic speech in Ohio, former President Donald J. Trump raised the specter of civil war if he loses the election

New York Times, March 15, 2024

Headline: Pence Says He Won’t Endorse Trump, but Won’t Vote for Biden Either

Comment: You said all you needed to say with the first half of the headline and you avoided mentioning that the insurrectionists wanted to hang a Vice President of the United States on January 6. Stop minimizing the insurrection.

Corrected Headline: Citing January 6 Insurrection, Pence Says He Won’t Endorse Trump

New York Times, March 11, 2024

Headline: Judge Denies One of Trump’s Efforts to Derail Documents Case

Screenshot from New York Times, March 14; Fair Use Claim

Comment: The story goes on to say:

The two motions discussed in court on Thursday were only some of the barrage of filings that Mr. Trump’s lawyers have submitted to Judge Cannon in a kind of kitchen-sink approach that has assailed the indictment from every conceivable angle — not to mention from what a lot of lawyers might consider some inconceivable ones as well.

So the headline, for one thing, was wrong. She didn’t deny one of Trump’s efforts to derail the case. She denied two of them. This may seem like nitpicking, but it’s not. Both motions were absurd but important.

The second motion she denied was a claim by Trump’s attorneys who, in the NY Times’ words, asserted that:

…under a law known as the Presidential Records Act, Mr. Trump designated the documents he took with him from the White House as his own personal property and so he could not be charged with possessing them without authorization.

Since this was just the latest in a series of attempts to attack “the indictment from every conceivable angle — not to mention from what a lot of lawyers might consider some inconceivable ones as well…” why did the New York Times bury this lede?

Trump’s lawyers are mocking the judicial system just like they punked it during their frivolous lawsuits during their election denial efforts. Wouldn’t it be nice, for a change, for the Times to make note of this in a bigly way?

Corrected Headline: Judge in Trump’s Documents Case Continues to Deny Frivolous Legal Attacks by Trump Lawyers

New York Times, March 11, 2024

Headline: Trump’s Biden Mockery Upsets People Who Stutter: ‘We’ve Heard This Before’

Comment: Trump, unsurprisingly, mocked Biden’s stuttering in a recent speech. Apparently, this behavior only upsets people who stutter

Corrected Headline: Speech Therapists Apallled at Trump’s Mockery of People Who Stutter

New York Times, March 11, 2024

Headline: Trump Aides, Taking Over R.N.C., Order Mass Layoffs

Comment: This is a story about how the Trump stooges who have taken control of the Republican National Committee have purged 60 of its 200 highest-ranking officers to lay the groundwork for the RNC becoming Trump’s legal fund.

Compare this to Politico’s headline (Politico originally broke the story):

Bloodbath at RNC: Trump team slashes staff at committee

Corrected Headline: Trump Begins Takeover of R.N.C. With Purge As Legal Bills Mount

New York Times, March 9, 2024

Headline: Britt Tells Misleading Border Story in State of the Union Response

Comment: It was an all-out, fully fabricated lie. Britt deliberately lied about the misfortune of a woman who was trafficked by child sex peddlers beginning when she was 12 years old during the Bush administration in Mexico nowhere near the border. The woman’s tragic tale has nothing to do with immigration or the border. It does, however, say much about the insanity of American drug laws and the endless, failed war on drugs that has damaged Mexico for decades.

Corrected Headline: Katie Britt Lies About 12-year-old Mexican Cartel Victim During Her State of the Union Response

New York Times, March 8, 2024

Headline: A big night — but will it matter?

This was the headline in a newsletter from the Times.

The linked story had a different headline:

In Two Speeches, Trump and Biden Offer Starkly Different Views of the Country

Comment: They’re both bad.

Corrected Headline: Biden’s Speech Celebrates Normalcy, Trump Delivers Another Off the Rails

New York Times, March 5, 2024

Headline: Haley’s Failed Campaign Highlights G.O.P. Rifts and Trump’s Dominance

Subheadline: Falling well short in a spirited campaign to dethrone Mr. Trump, Ms. Haley brought to a close the latest struggle over the soul and direction of the Republican Party.

Comment: Another New York Times headline that portrays Trump as a manly man whose virility is unmatched. And, dummies, you nailed part of it in the subhead: “spirited campaign.”

Corrected Headline: Haley’s Spirited Campaign Fails to Halt the GOP’s Descent into Fascism

Corrected Subheadline: The world shudders as the ranks of Republican sycophants swell

New York Times, March 5, 2024

Headline: Trump’s Conquest of the Republican Party Matters to Every American

Comment: This headline is from an editorial from the newspaper. The first two paragraphs are considerably more adversarial:

The party has become a vessel for the fulfillment of Mr. Trump’s ambitions, and he will almost certainly be its standard-bearer for a third time.

This is a tragedy for the Republican Party and for the country it purports to serve.

The editorial continues with:

The Republican Party is forsaking all of those responsibilities and instead has become an organization whose goal is the election of one person at the expense of anything else, including integrity, principle, policy and patriotism.

The headline was somewhere in there, wasn’t it? How did they manage to ruin a good thing?

The editorial continues to rough up Trump something fierce. This is all good. But the headline is not. It’s passive and weak. And, once again, it uses a word, “conquest,” that continues to push the New York Times narrative that he is invincible.

The paper had an opportunity to give voice in its headline to what we all know, and failed.

Corrected headline: The Failure of the Republican Party to Stop Trump is an Existential Threat to America.

New York Times, March 5, 2024

Headline: Fewer Voters Think Trump Committed Crimes, Polls Show

Comment: I’d like you to take a minute to review a graph of these findings:

Screenshot from New York Times article

Tell me what your corrected headline is before you look at mine.

You’ll notice that the majority of Democrats and independents believe he has committed crimes. But do you notice something in that red Republican line? That’s a serious uptick considering its overall trendline.

The Times, instead, spends its newsprint on analyzing a slight downtick in other voters, one that is no different than other brief dips, and one that will surely climb as the legal news starts to hammer Trump again.

Corrected headline: Number of Republican Voters Who Think Trump Committed a Serious Crime Shows Steady Increase Since July, Polls Show

New York Times, March 5, 2024

Headline: Do Americans Have a ‘Collective Amnesia’ About Donald Trump?

Comment: That’s a good start, but there’s no reason to avoid the nature of their collective amnesia in the headline unless you’re the New York Times, which seems to be on a sacred mission to see Trump in power. Or as the New Yorker might say, reëlected. (Dear New Yorker, please stop. It’s re-elected or reelected).

“91 felony indictments” should be part of almost every headline about Trump, even if his cult considers them a feature and not a bug.

The Times also buried the lede, which is in a photo caption: Donald J. Trump’s approval rating when he left office was 34 percent.

Corrected Headline: Do Americans Have a ‘Collective Amnesia’ About Donald Trump’s Thousands of Documented Lies and 91 Felony Indictments?

Alternative Corrected Headline: Donald J. Trump’s approval rating when he left office was 34 percent. Do Americans remember why?

Politico, March 3, 2024

Headline: Johnson sells GOP ‘victories’ in marketing his first bipartisan funding bills

Comment: This story is about a “bipartisan” budget bill Trump’s handpicked Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson, is said to be trying to negotiate. Johnson has been the most unsuccessful Speaker of the House since, well, Kevin McCarthy. I guess that’s not very long.

Corrected Headline: Johnson succumbs to reality and Democratic pressure as he tries to spin minor gains in first bipartisan funding bills

New York Times, March 3, 2024

Headline: Majority of Biden’s 2020 Voters Now Say He’s Too Old to Be Effective

Subhead: A New York Times/Siena College poll revealed how much even his supporters worry about his age, intensifying what has become a grave threat to his re-election bid.

Comment: This one has to be seen to be believed. So, just in case there’s enough uproar for the New York Times to change the headline later, here’s a screenshot:

Screenshot of NYT/Siena poll headline
Screenshot of NYT’s laughable headline. Fair use claim, but I invite a lawsuit from the paper to help publicize the newspaper’s egregious manipulation of small sample sized data.

The headline says the Majority of Biden’s 2020 Voters. As Jerry Weiss noted on Jay Kuo’s excellent Substack response to this, only “823 potential voters nation-wide completed the full survey.”

A majority of Biden’s 2020 voters would equal at least 40 million people. This survey questioned 980 voters (only 823 completed the survey, but Cohn saw fit to include the incompletes in the results, too).

980. IN THE ENTIRE NATION. That’s a far cry than the screaming headline of “Majority of Biden’s 2020 Voters.” That’s a far cry from 40 million.

This is journalistic malfeasance. It’s clickbait. It’s equivalent to false advertising. It should be illegal for a mass-market communications company to publish a lie that is this far over the top. As Jerry notes:

There were over 154 million voters in the 2020 election. A little basic arithmetic reveals that the survey questioned .0005 of 1% of the number of actual voters in 2020. It's absurd to suggest that some magic formula can correctly identify the demographic of any one person who accurately represents 187,000 others.

This is the very definition of small sample size. It’s not even a statistical anomaly. It’s the most insignificant number they could have produced. Statisticians rightly laugh at such ridiculous sample sizes. It’s also lazy polling. Why does Nate Cohn have a job when so many other qualified statisticians could probably produce something of actual relevance?

For a formal rebuttal to the New York Times polling methodologies, I strongly recommend you read Jay Kuo’s excellent corrective analysis (where you’ll find Jerry Weiss’s comment, along with a lot of other great observations from Jay Kuo’s Substack readers in addition to Jay):

Status Report: About That Poll…
Leave it to the New York Times to stir up Democratic anxiety right before the State of the Union address, with a poll showing Trump beating Biden by five points nationally. A number of my friends sent the poll to me. Some of them are now filled with such gloom and doom that I wanted to lay out my thoughts on it plainly here for …

Corrected Headline: Hi. I’m Nate Cohn, and Substackers are legit asking if I’m related to Roy Cohn.

I won’t bother correcting the subhead. It’s just all too insane. But I will suggest a correction to the poll with two new separate questions:

True or False? Trump, with his 91 indictments and a civil rape conviction, is just too crazy and crooked to be an effective president.

True or False? Biden, with his 0 indictments and no civil rape convictions, is too honest to be an effective president.

New York Times, February 21, 2024

Headline: The Informant Turned Defendant Who Took Aim at the Bidens

Subhead: How Alexander Smirnov managed to convince business partners, law enforcement agencies and politicians he had something of value to offer remains an enigma.

Comment: Seriously, NYT? This is how you treat the Russian infiltration of the Republican Party? And the asinine impeachment effort?

Corrected Headline: Republican Impeachment Hearings Upended by Russian Spy

Corrected Subhead: How Russian infiltrators have taken control of the Republican Party.

New York Times, February 21, 2024

Headline: Biden Chips Away at Student Loan Debt, Bit by Bit, Amid High Expectations

Comment: This egregious effort from Zolan Kanno-Youngs to malign Biden shows up in the HTML title element of the story, which the Times forgot to change:

<title>Biden Cancels $1.2 Billion in Student Loan Debt for 150,000 Borrowers - The New York Times</title>

Why the hell did they change the original headline?

Subhead: The president announced another $1.2 billion in forgiveness, bringing the total canceled to $138 billion. But the piecemeal efforts have garnered him little praise.

Comment: Dudes, he did this yesterday afternoon.

Headline Correction (duh):  Biden Cancels $1.2 Billion in Student Loan Debt for 150,000 Borrowers

New York Times, February 20, 2024

Headline: Ex-Informant Accused of Lying About Bidens Said He Had Russian Contacts

Comment: The first paragraph of the story is wrong, too. It says:

A former F.B.I. informant accused of making false bribery claims about President Biden and his son Hunter — which were widely publicized by Republicans — claimed to have been fed information by Russian intelligence, according to a court filing on Tuesday.

Headline Correction: Russian/Republican Spy Scandal Against Biden Grows

Lede Correction (note changes in bold): A former F.B.I. informant accused of making false bribery claims about President Biden and his son Hunter — which were widely publicized by Republicans and amplified by the media — claimed to have been fed information by Russian intelligence, according to a court filing on Tuesday.

New York Times, February 14, 2024

Headline: Not an Ordinary Special Election, and Yet a Typical Result

Comment: Huh? What does that headline even mean? Another Nate Cohn special, where he ignores the string of Democratic victories in local elections since the Supreme Court destroyed Roe v. Wade. By scuttling their own immigration bill (something many New York Times readers may not be aware of), Republicans probably added a couple of points to the victory margin in the special election in New York’s Third Congressional district to replace comedy powerhouse George Santos.

Cohn doesn’t bother covering this obvious likelihood, even though evaluating polls (election or their crazy IPSOS/Reuters stuff) is supposed to be his job.

Cohn buries himself in contradictory statements in this article to the point where the story becomes nonsensical. Example (within the same paragraph):

I think it’s entirely plausible to argue that these results are great for Democrats, given what’s going on in New York. It’s a lot less plausible, however, to interpret the results as a repudiation of Democratic weakness in the Empire State.

Cohn works so hard to push the message that we aren’t learning anything from all these localized Republican destruction events that reading through articles like this is like scraping your eyeballs.

Correction: Our Own Nate Cohn Explains Away Another Democratic Victory With Obfuscation and Contradiction

New York Times, February 14, 2024

Headline: Europe Wants to Stand on Its Own Militarily. Is It Too Little, Too Late?

Comment: Europe is justifiably terrified of another Trump Presidency. Say so.

Correction: Terrified of Another Trump Presidency, Europe Considers Alternative to the NATO Alliance

New York Times, February 14, 2024

Headline: They Know Haley’s Chances Against Trump, but They’re Voting for Her Anyway

Comment: Another “Trump is an unstoppable force” headline that the New York Times uses to create the spirit of inevitability.

Correction: Nikki Haley Begins South Carolina Bus Tour To Fight Media Bias Toward Trump

New York Times, February 14, 2024

Headline: House Republicans Impeach Mayorkas for Border Policies

Comment: Mayorkas was impeached for political reasons that had nothing to do with crimes or misdemeanors. This headline is Trump-related because, with no Trump, there is no impeachment. Instead, this is part of the Republican Party’s ongoing effort at a putsch.

Correction: In Historic First, Republicans Impeach Homeland Secretary Mayorkas Despite No Claims of Impeachable Offense

New York Times, February 13, 2024

Headline: Biden Denounces Trump’s Support for Russian Attack on Allies as ‘Un-American’

Comment: You need to read several paragraphs into the story to find any hint about how unhinged Trump’s words were. You might think that the first paragraph in the story would be okay, but in this case, it is okay to call something that is unhinged “unhinged” in the lede. The initial paragraph reads: “President Biden denounced former President Donald J. Trump on Tuesday for encouraging Russia to attack certain NATO allies, calling the comments “dumb…” whereas the lede should have just laid it out: “President Biden denounced former President Donald J. Trump’s unhinged comments,” and then should have gone directly to quoting a professional psychologist to explore the strange patterns of Trump’s speeches in general, with this one as a prime example. The New York Times is an ongoing Master Class in burying the lede.

Correction: Trump’s Unhinged Encouragement of Russia To Attack NATO Called “Shameful,” “Dangerous” and “Un-American” by President Biden

New York Times, February 12, 2024

Headline: G.O.P. Officials, Once Critical, Stand by Trump After NATO Comments

Subhead: Defending Donald Trump or deflecting his statements, some top G.O.P. officials reflected the trajectory of a party that the former president has largely bent to his will.

Comment: Once again, a headline/subhead combo that presents Trump as an immovable force of power. This goes beyond normalization and treats a man with 91 federal indictments, a finding by a jury in civil court that he was guilty of rape and defamation, and is broadly looked upon by the majority of the nation as an insurrectionist, as all-powerful.

Correction:  G.O.P. Officials Cower at Trump NATO Comments That Alarm Europe

Subhead Correction: Defending Donald Trump or deflecting his statements, former G.O.P. Trump foes convert from challengers to sycophants

Politico Playbook Newsletter, February 11, 2024

Headline: Playbook: ‘Wild’ and ‘dangerous’ Trump upstages ‘elderly’ Biden

Comment: It’s only fair to report on these pages when a mainstream news organization gets a headline right for a change, which Politico does here. Is this a sign of an awakening of sorts? Here’s some of the relevant text from Politico’s Playbook newsletter:

Last night, recounting a conversation with an unnamed “president,” Trump confirmed that was, indeed, his view. But he added a shocking new twist.

“No, I would not protect you,” Trump said he told the European leader. “In fact, I would encourage [Russia] to do whatever the hell they want. You gotta pay.”
Aside from the obvious national security implications, there are potential political implications to Trump’s comment. It’s worth noting that the NATO member countries most concerned about future Russian aggression — Poland, Finland, and the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia — also happen to be well represented in the three pivotal swing states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Just for fun, we dug into the numbers this morning:
2020 margin of victory for Biden: 2.78 percentage points, 154,181 votes

Polish, Finnish or Baltic population: Approximately 900,000
2020 margin of victory for Biden: 1.18 percentage points, 82,166 votes

Polish, Finnish or Baltic population: Approximately 800,000
2020 margin of victory for Biden: 0.63 percentage points, 20,682 votes

Polish, Finnish or Baltic population: Approximately 500,000
As Democrats continue to freak out about the Hur report this weekend, the Biden campaign is trying to focus its allies on Trump’s most incendiary rally comments.

Correction: None.

New York Times, February 9, 2024

Headline: For Voters, When Does Old Become Too Old?
Subhead: Polling shows it’s a broad concern expressed about President Biden, not just one person’s opinion.

Comment: A Nate Cohn classic with lines like this:

What’s clear is that the report raised the burden on Mr. Biden to demonstrate his fitness for the presidency.

No similar burden is suggested regarding Trump’s obvious and potent cognitive decline. This is partly because the press is so buried in multi-faceted volumes of Trump malignancy that they barely notice how crazy he sounds on the hustings.

No mention is ever made that Trump is three years younger than Biden. And acts about 100 years older.

Correction for Headline: How Long Will Concerns About Biden’s Age Trump Concern Over Trump’s Cognitive Decline?
Subhead Correction: Polling shows President Biden’s age is a broad concern, but as evidence of Trump’s cognitive issues mounts, can he survive the same scrutiny?

Everybody, February 8, 2024

Headline: Biden’s Memory is Shot and He’s Old as Hell

Comment: Rather than pick on one news source, I’ll refer to every news source generically. Biden went into a tirade over some now famous words spittled forth by a special prosecutor who had done significant legal work under the Trump administration. Unable to find anything to nail Biden on, the special prosecutor said, “Biden’s memory sucks, and I’m an ageist creep.” Or something to that effect. The media went with Biden’s memory sucks. Biden goofed with mixing up names of the Mexican and Egyptian presidents, but he clearly understood the issues at hand when he explained the Gaza situation, but the media focus was, of course, that Biden is old. And he is, but as one Reddit user said: “I am almost half Biden’s age and sometimes I forget that my first husband has died and wondered why I haven’t texted him in a while. And I would still be a better president than Trump.”

Correction: Special Prosecutor Investigating Biden’s Directs Personal Attacks Against Biden After Finding No Wrongdoing

New York Times and Washington Post, February 8, 2004

Headlines: Numerous different headlines in 30 articles (according to Popular Info) in the New York Times by 24 different reporters and 33 articles in the Washington Post covering Robert Hur’s (not a doctor) statements saying Biden had a poor memory in his report clearing Biden of any wrongdoing regarding documents that were returned after initial requests from National Archives (compared to Trump’s refusal to do the same).

Popular Info only found one Washington Post article (by its health reporters) that explained that occasional memory lapses are not indicative of cognitive decline.

In addition, coverage of Trump’s various insanities has been light. Popular Info also notes that Trump (quoting Popular Info here):

Called Viktor Orbán, who is actually the leader of Hungary, the leader of Turkey. Trump also claimed that Orbán shared a border with Russia, which is not true of Hungary or Turkey.

Warned that America is on the verge of World War II.

Claimed he defeated Barack Obama in the 2016 election instead of Hillary Clinton. Trump also suggested Obama was his opponent in 2024.

Mixed up his Republican primary challenger, Nikki Haley, with former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

All of this was barely covered by the mainstream media.

Read their excellent overview of the current media crisis regarding Trump here:

Media creates Biden "fitness" crisis
Robert Hur, the Republican special prosecutor assigned to investigate President Biden, is a lawyer, not a doctor. On Thursday, Hur issued a lengthy report that came to the legal conclusion that charges against Biden for mishandling classified materials were not warranted. I…

Corrections: At least 66 complete rewrites. Sorry, no time for this. The media’s mendacity has overwhelmed my senses. Or, perhaps I’m in cognitive decline.

New York Times, February 7, 2024

Headline: Border Deal Fails in the Senate

Comment: Republicans in both houses of Congress torched the bill they originally wanted and agreed to after His Highness objected to it, saying it would help Trump get elected.

Correction: Bowing to Trump, Senate Republicans Scuttle their Own Border Deal

New York Times, February 5, 2024

Headline: We Were Friends for Years. Trump Tore Us Apart.

Comment: The NYT was doing fine until some misguided soul included this in the subhead within the email that distributed the morning headlines: Politics drive a wedge between even the longest of friends.

Correction of Subhead: Trump’s Hate Platform Drives a Wedge Between Even the Best of Friends

New York Times, February 5, 2024

Headline: Who Should Be Trump’s No. 2?

Comment: The subhead in the email for this is: The most important vice-presidential selection question for Mr. Trump is less “who?” than “why?” The guest essay is by Kellyanne Conway. Need I say more? Probably not, but I will. The real question is, why is the New York Times giving Kellyanne Conway, a known purveyor of lies, a forum?

Correction: Kellyanne Conway Asked Us To Run a Guest Essay. We Said No.

New York Times, February 2, 2024

Headline: Turnout Data Reveals the Core of Democrats’ Success in Special Elections

Comment: In a wildly confusing piece, Nate Cohn, irreversibly unable to change course on his awful poll reporting, has this gem: In the typical special election, half of voters are 65 and over. Nearly every special election voter has participated in a recent primary election. Almost everyone is a registered Democrat or Republican. Young voters, irregular voters and independent voters are much scarcer. The nonwhite share of voters is typically smaller. A general election poll with these demographic characteristics would be laughed out of the room. He doesn’t seem interested in the fact that half of the voters are 65 and over and Democrats are still winning. The article continues with almost mind-bending determination to get at the root of why Democrats are winning special elections: Republican overreach and Trump insanity.

Correction: Democratic Victories Despite High Turnout in Over 65-Crowd in Special Elections Spell Trouble for Republicans

The American media is trying to treat Trump like a normal presidential candidate. He is not. He has been found guilty of rape and defamation of his victim in a civil trial and faces 91 federal indictments. He is on the brink of losing the right to practice business in New York State because of a long history of malfeasance.

He calls the people convicted in the insurrection “hostages” and cheered on the riot, which included a life-sized mock gallows and shouts of “hang Pence,” from his bully pulpit.

He has difficulty speaking coherently at his campaign events, in television interviews, and in his numerous court appearances. His speech patterns reflect someone who is twenty years older than Biden (who is only three years older and is reliably coherent).

Headlines rarely reflect these facts. These corrected headlines are meant as a guide to help young headline writers at large media outlets on how to write a proper headline for stories regarding Trump. Every news story should include, as a primary talking point, references to the indictments, the insurrection, and his failing mental health.

Most of the focus of this headline corrector will be on so-called left-leaning outlets, especially the New York Times, which has an outsized influence and should know (and do) better. We already know what Fox does. There is no need to cover their malfeasance or give them more publicity than they already have. Some outlets, such as The Chicago Tribune, are decidedly centrist or historically right-leaning but have not endorsed Trump in the past.

These headlines are sorted by newest first. Note that the headlines sometimes change, so the links may no longer reflect what I have reported here.