New York Times Deletes Immigration Status Of Mollie Tibbetts’s Killer From Headline

Joe Simonson | Media Reporter

The New York Times opted to delete the immigration status of the man suspected of killing Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts in an update to a headline about the incident Wednesday.

According to the Twitter account Editing TheGrayLady, The Times made a number of changes to the headline of its story on Tibbetts’s murder before finally falling on “Immigrant Is Charged In Mollie Tibbetts Murder in Iowa, and Trump Seizes on Case.” (RELATED: Illegal Immigrant Charged With Murder Of Mollie Tibbetts)

Initially, after editors at The Times learned that an illegal immigrant was the suspect behind her murder, the headline read “Trump Seizes on Killing of College Student, After Undocumented Immigrant’s Arrest.”

After several minor changes over the next two hours, The Times eventually deleted the word “undocumented,” with the current headline reading “Immigrant Is Charged in Mollie Tibbetts Murder in Iowa, and Trump Seizes on Case.”

The removal of “undocumented” did not come with any news from law enforcement officials on the suspect’s immigration status.

Further, the lede of the article seems to contradict its headline, with the copy clearly stating that the suspect, Christian Bahena-Rivera, was in the country illegally at the time of his arrest.

“A body believed to be that of Mollie Tibbetts, a 20-year-old student at the University of Iowa who vanished a month ago after going for a jog, was found on Tuesday morning, investigators announced, and a 24-year-old undocumented immigrant was charged with first-degree murder,” the article states.

Readers simply glancing over headlines on The Times’ front page or social media accounts could easily get the wrong impression about Bahena-Rivera. President Donald Trump’s “seizure” of the issue also makes more sense, considering his hardline policies and rhetoric against illegal immigration.

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