At around 10 AM eastern time, the New York Times Metro Desk promoted a story on Twitter with the following tweet:
The tweet was deleted around 1:45, but not before it drew criticism. Shortly after the deletion, the following was posted:
We have deleted a tweet sent earlier today because of its use of language that was unintentionally divisive.
— NYT Metro Desk (@NYTMetro) February 7, 2016
Why was the previous tweet taken down? Was it because of the backlash it spurred? A quick search for NYTMetro on Twitter brought up the following tweets:
This headline is actual trash. "@NYTMetro: Confronting industry diversity, Latino TV writers are busy with shows, not hashtag activism"
— Daniel José Older (@djolder) February 7, 2016
This article is divisive from the tweet that links to it down to the quotes chosen for it. t.co/IXKokDPfEZ
— Jozen C. (@jozenc) February 7, 2016
@NYTMetro anti-blackness was needed for this title, why? It's not even about black ppl or afro-Latinos. So why the negative comparison?
— Reagan Gomez (@ReaganGomez) February 7, 2016
Or was it that the tweet did not reflect the story itself? The story focuses on a web series called “Get Some!” which features a Latino cast. The director of the series, Sonia Gonzalez-Martinez, had several comments which were in line with the tweet:
“As far as #OscarsSoWhite, I don’t personally care about it, because this same problem has been around for years and years Latinos have always been on the verge, always hovering. So as hard as it is to make a web series, we’re doing it anyway because nobody is coming to us to give us an opportunity. We’re going to make it ourselves. We are going to tell the stories we want to tell.”
But nobody else in the story made remarks which reflects the director’s opinion. Even if that were the case, the opinions of a few people cannot reflect what every Latino in television thinks. So why was this misconstrued as such by the metro desk?
Why would The New York Times pit Latinos against blacks, and how could this happen?
AllDigitocracy reached out to the Times, but did not immediately get a response. We’ll update if and when we speak with public editor Margaret Sullivan.
UPDATE: A spokeswoman for The New York Times provided a curt response to our request to speak with the ombudsman. Rather than addressing our specific questions, the spokesman wrote in an email: “The tweet was reviewed by editors. It was changed when we realized readers were interpreting it in a way that we did not intend.”
So readers interpreted it wrong.
The spokeswoman added that the tweet was reviewed by Times’ editors before it was posted, as are all tweets originating from official Times’ accounts.