United States Project

Nearly a week elapsed before President Donald Trump condemned a deadly February shooting in an Olathe, Kansas bar. Reports on the shooting, which is being investigated as a hate crime, suggested that the gunman may have targeted victims because of their race, and told them to “get out of my country.”
During that week, The Kansas City Star built on its coverage of the shooting with an editorial that called Trump’s silence “disquieting.”
“Tuesday night, the country and the world will be watching when Trump addresses a joint session of Congress,” concludes the editorial. “He should use the opportunity to thoughtfully—and belatedly—address this brazen act of violence. Because with each passing day, Trump’s silence is even more telling.”
Colleen McCain Nelson, the Star’s editorial page editor, described for CJR the paper’s decision to publish the editorial. “He had said nothing,” said Nelson. “He had opportunities to say things. So the board settled on the message and put it in Tuesday’s newspaper ahead of the speech.”
Nelson, who detailed her own history attending White House briefings that touched on fatal shootings, reminded CJR that many in the Star’s audience voted for Trump, and emphasized that her editorial board tries to avoid reflexive criticism. The editorial ran the morning of Trump’s congressional address, during which he finally condemned the violent episode. “It’s hard to know exactly what the tipping point was,” said Nelson, “but I definitely think we helped advance the conversation.” Read her interview with CJR here.

Be sure to read these new stories from CJR and correspondents to the United States Project:

  • Last week at “Covering Trump,” a panel discussion co-hosted by CJR, Reuters and The Guardian, Breitbart economics editor John Carney told an audience, “I don’t think you’re reading a lot of false news in Breitbart,” and heralded “the best beginning to a presidency” that he had experienced. CJR’s David Uberti contextualizes Carney’s comments and responses from other panelists, from Brian Stelter to Sabrina Siddiqui.
  • Meanwhile, an analysis of more than 1.25 million stories situates Breitbart near the center of a right-wing media world. During the course of the presidential campaign and election, that right-wing media world became “an internally coherent, relatively insulated knowledge community, reinforcing the shared worldview of readers and shielding them from journalism that challenged it.” Read the full analysis here.
  • “Like the vast majority of the country, my community had no way of telling its own story with any depth.” Michael Canyon Meyer reports on This Land Press, which recently suspended print publication, and the voice it gave back to Middle America.
  • Trudy Lieberman continues to spotlight consequential stories that reporters should tell about the efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare. Her latest, “Cost of the Cadillac,” details an unpopular tax intended to cover subsidies for the uninsured, and ways for reporters to track the impact of the tax (or its possible repeal) in their communities.
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