NYT Changes Headline On Gov’t Shutdown To Lessen Blame On Dems For Impasse

Chris White | Energy Reporter

The New York Times changed a headline in an article Saturday morning about the government shutdown that absolves Democrats of blame for the impasse.

The original version of the NYT headline on an article reporting the news reads: “Senate Democrat Block Bill to Keep Government Open Past Midnight, Shutdown Looms.” The story went through various changes as negotiations on the budget deal broke down.

But a final version of the headline was published at 12:01 am and appears to dramatically downplay Democrats’ responsibility in the matter, according to an analysis The Daily Caller News Foundation conducted using NewsDiffs, a website that tracks changes made to high-performing articles.

The final version of the headline states: “Government Shuts Down as Bill to Extend Funding Is Blocked.” TheNYT altered the original article substantially as well. Editors nixed a sentence, for instance, noting that, “Senate Democrats blocked passage of a stopgap spending bill to keep the government open.”

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TheNYT has not responded to TheDCNF’s questions about the reason for the changes, which could include the need to keep up with the hustle and bustle of the budget negotiations. Yet, many other legacy news outlets ran with headlines leveling criticism on Democrats for the inability to prevent a government shutdown.

“U.S. Shutdown Starts as Senate Democrats Block GOP Funding Plan” a Bloomberg headline blared early Saturday morning, referring to the Senate’s inability to agree on a variety of budgetary issues. AP chimed in with a similar headline reflecting the sheer anarchy surrounding the budget negotiating process.

Republican and Democratic leaders have not stopped talking through their differences. Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, for instance, said late Friday night that the conflict has a “really good chance” of being resolved before the weekend concludes.

Both parties took substantial risks. Republicans refused to bend to the Democrat’s demands to negotiate, while the minority party largely unified to use the shutdown deadline to exact protections from the GOP for hundreds of thousands of young illegal immigrants.

Republicans tried to sweeten the deal, offering Democrats a long-term extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, as well as the delay of some unpopular health-care taxes. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans believed the public would blame Democrats if the sweetener was rejected.

McConnell’s party controls 51 seats in the Senate, while Democrats have 49. It requires 60 votes to pass a spending bill and the majority party cannot use reconciliation to reduce the number of votes required for cloture.

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