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Misleading Headline Displays Bias

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A front-page headline in the New York Times distorted a bold new initiative of the Trump administration and displayed that paper’s long-standing grudge.

Beneath a dramatic photo of a suspect being led away in handcuffs, the headline proclaimed: TRUMP TARGETS FEDERAL WORKERS IN ORDERS CURBING PROTECTIONS.

First of all, the photo had nothing to do with persecution of federal workers: it showed movie mogul Harvey Weinstein at his recent arrest. Second, the story didn’t describe “targeting” of government workers: it focused instead on admirable efforts to make it easier to cut unnecessary federal jobs and to terminate incompetent workers, while limiting the conduct of union business on government time.

Recognizing the obvious bias in their original headline, the Times itself changed it in later editions to the far more accurate: TRUMP MOVES TO EASE THE FIRING OF FEDERAL WORKERS.

It was a revealing episode in media bias.

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