Screenshot via Twitter/@washingtonpost

Welcome to WHAT NOW, a morning round-up of the news/fresh horrors that await you today.

Shortly after the conclusion of Donald Trump’s State of the Union—in which he used stories of teens killed by gangs and a cop taking a homeless addict’s baby to demonize those on the lowest rungs of our social ladder—The Washington Post unveiled its front page on Twitter. Weirdly, the paper hailed the speech as “A call for bipartisanship,” with a smaller headline touting Trump’s “message of unity.”

It quickly became clear that the Post was this year’s Van Jones—a symbol of soft Trump coverage that people could rally around. Just look at that ratio!

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After about an hour of being relentlessly raked over the coals, the paper unveiled its new front page, instead highlighting a random line from the speech across five columns. The Post said that the earlier image was just a first edition, though that didn’t explain why it hadn’t mentioned that fact before. 

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Despite all the outrage—and the subsequent headline change—it’s worth noting that print editions do change with some frequency before the final edition, although it is possible that the paper’s editor had a change of heart given the backlash. Most importantly, the Post was far from the only national, ostensibly objective news organization to highlight the portions of the speech which called for unity, while either burying or ignoring the fact that those calls were framed as part of a reactionary screed.

WHAT NOW?

Everything today will still be about Trump’s State of the Union! But here are some WHAT NOWs you may have missed during the speech:

  • The president’s continuing efforts to claim credit for historically low unemployment among black Americans continued in the speech. In fact, those numbers have very little to do with Trump’s actions in office and are the continuation of trends seen under Barack Obama, when the unemployment rate among black Americans was cut in half.
  • The White House also pushed out just one executive order during the course of the speech: to keep the military prison at Guantanamo Bay open, continuing the previous administration’s policy of also keeping the prison open. Who wants to tell Cillizza?

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