A newspaper in Memphis quickly apologize after protestors complained about its choice of headline in the wake of the deadly police shooting in Dallas.
“Gunman targeted whites,” read the lead story headline in the Commercial Appeal, a member of the USA Today network. The headline was accurate, as Dallas gunman Micah Xavier Johnson explicitly talked about wanted to kill white police officers before he was eliminated via robot bomb.
That didn’t stop protestors from gathering outside the paper’s office in downtown Memphis on Wednesday to express their displeasure, some holding signs that read “Black Lives Matter.”
Commercial Appeal editor Louis Graham quickly apologized after meeting with the protestors, and wrote an editorial titled, “We got it wrong.”
“In my view the headline was so lacking in context as to be tone deaf, particularly in a city with a 65 percent African American population,” Graham wrote. “That front page minimized the broader refrain of what’s happening in our country with anguish over the deaths of young black men at the hands of police. It has been viewed as suggesting that this newspaper values the lives of white police officers more than young black men who have died in incident after incident.”
The paper’s president, George Cogswell, said the headline, “although not inaccurate, was very insensitive to the movement and we recognized that quickly.”
One of the protest leaders, Pastor Earle Fisher of the Memphis Grassroots Organization Coalition, said following a meeting with Commercial Appeal employees that the situation highlighted “the need for cultural sensitivity training.”