The New York Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan apologized this afternoon for an article published this morning that referred to Michael Brown of being “no angel.”
Those two words “no angel” caused an uproar on the far left.
Via The New York Times:
Two words — “no angel” — have become a flash point for many of the difficult, contentious, entrenched issues that have arisen in Ferguson, Mo. On Twitter, in my email queue and across the Internet, many Times readers are angry and disappointed about the use of those words, which have become yet another Ferguson-related hashtag.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way first: That choice of words was a regrettable mistake. In saying that the 18-year-old Michael Brown was “no angel” in the fifth paragraph of Monday’s front-page profile, The Times seems to suggest that this was, altogether, a bad kid.
Some people take their protests further; they say that The Times is suggesting a truly repellent idea — that Mr. Brown deserved to die because he acted like many a normal teenager.
I talked on Monday with both the article’s author, John Eligon, and the national editor, Alison Mitchell, who has been heading the Times coverage of Mr. Brown’s death earlier this month and its aftermath; the young black man was fatally shot by a white police officer, Darren Wilson…
…There is other language in the article that some readers are objecting to — in particular, the references to Mr. Brown’s interest in rap music with its sometimes provocative lyrics. Mr. Eligon said he pressed his editors to make changes on parts of the article that dealt with rap. “Rapping is just rapping. It’s not indicative of someone’s character,” he told me.
The article was written by black correspondent John Eligon.