CBS News on Saturday changed its headline on a story about Texas Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke’s take on NFL player protests following a wave of backlash on social media.
The original headline read, “Beto O’Rourke says there’s ‘nothing more American’ than NFL players protesting the national anthem.”
“I can think of nothing more American than to peacefully stand up or take a knee for your rights anytime, anywhere, any place,” O’Rourke said earlier this week, prompting his GOP opponent, Ted Cruz, to tweet his skepticism that the Democrat’s take would be a hit in conservative Texas. (RELATED: TRUMP JR. TELLS BETO O’ROURKE THAT ANTHEM KNEELING ‘WON’T FLY’ IN TEXAS, OFFERS ALTERNATIVE)
CBS News’ headline, however, drew the ire of players and media by drawing attention to players “protesting the national anthem” instead of what they consider fighting injustice.
— Lawrence O’Donnell (@Lawrence) August 25, 2018
NFL PLAYERS ARE *NOT* PROTESTING THE NATIONAL ANTHEM. How many times must it be said? https://t.co/sp7invf35B
— Donté Stallworth (@DonteStallworth) August 25, 2018
How is this network news? Just the headline has a willful lie in it
— Sarah Silverman (@SarahKSilverman) August 25, 2018
I’m trying to figure out how you got this wrong @CBSNews, when @BetoORourke says IN THE VIDEO YOU ARE DISCUSSING that the protests are NOT about the anthem. Unless, of course, you’re intentionally misleading folks because you have an agenda. Or your journalism sucks. Which is it? https://t.co/l8xWOgXrQh
— April (@ReignOfApril) August 25, 2018
— Andy Slavitt (@ASlavitt) August 25, 2018
Lazy and misleading social headline. They’re not protesting the anthem. Do better, CBS. https://t.co/PMnYUQXwLo
— Stef with an “F”. (@Stefmara) August 25, 2018
— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) August 25, 2018
CBS News added an editor’s note after changing their headline “to more wholly reflect” O’Rourke’s statements.
Editor’s note: CBS News has changed a headline to more wholly reflect Beto O’Rourke’s remarks and correct a previous headline that stated O’Rourke said there was “nothing more American” than NFL players protesting the national anthem. https://t.co/36nR2en45n
— CBS News (@CBSNews) August 25, 2018
In addition to the tweeted statement, CBS News also added a sentence to the original article: “Players who kneel during the national anthem are protesting police brutality and racial inequality.”