The New York Times had to walk back a recent story headline that tried to paint the Trump Administration’s U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley as wasteful with tax dollars over some pricey drapes.
Turns out it was the Obama Administration that is responsible for the purchase. Too bad the detractors had already run far and wide with the story and likely won’t be correcting their follow-up stories or commentary.
The original article headline read “Nikki Haley’s View of New York Is Priceless. Her Curtains? $52,701.”
The lede (or opening paragraph) to the article read:
“The State Department spent $52,701 for customized and mechanized curtains for the picture windows in the new official residence of the ambassador to the United Nations.”
Vogue ran with the story creating a gossipy headline of their own that called Ambassador Halley “the latest White House Big Spender.”
The headline was misleading and left readers thinking that the former South Carolina governor was lavishly spending on drapes for a pricey new ambassador residence.
It’s not until four paragraphs into the story that the Times reporter explains the decision to buy the special curtains were made under the Obama administration and that Haley had no control over the purchase.
Not surprisingly, the article prompted criticism of Haley and deserved backlash against the New York Times.
The Times headline now reads “State Department Spent $52,701 on Curtains for Residence of U.N. Envoy” and editors have added a lengthy note as a mea culpa:
Editors’ Note: September 14, 2018An earlier version of this article and headline created an unfair impression about who was responsible for the purchase in question. While Nikki R. Haley is the current ambassador to the United Nations, the decision on leasing the ambassador’s residence and purchasing the curtains was made during the Obama administration, according to current and former officials. The article should not have focused on Ms. Haley, nor should a picture of her have been used. The article and headline have now been edited to reflect those concerns, and the picture has been removed.
Vogue added their own little twist to a correction on their article, but their updated headline still leaves room for interpretation, “The State Department Spent $52,701 on the Curtains In UN Ambassador Nikki Haley's Penthouse.”
Legacy news agencies like the New York Times claim to be seekers of truth. However, their reporting – from clickbait headlines to how they present the facts – is often colored by partisan politics. No wonder trust in media is so low and that two out of three Americans say the news media is not careful to separate fact from fiction in reporting.
Ambassador Haley didn't deserve this smearing and good for those who are calling it out.