New York Post Slammed for Its ‘Civil War’ Front Page

"Irresponsible."

As news reports, preliminary and unconfirmed, began to emerge in the late hours of Thursday night and early Friday morning of the murder of five police officers at a protest in Dallas, the New York Post made a decision to go with a sensationalized cover for Friday’s paper.

Reaction on Twitter was swift and critical. Twitter user @pourmecoffee, known for humorous, witty tweets, was neither in his response.

Others responses ranged from criticism of the Post’s cover choice to examples of how the headline didn’t fit the reality of the situation.

But social media was not the only forum for criticism.

Writing in Vox, Zack Beauchamp called the Post’s move “irresponsible” and suggested it was a cynical attempt to drive sales:

Implying that one horrible event is part of a nationwide wave of violence makes problems seem far worse than they are. That’s especially bad when the implication is that black Americans demonstrating for their rights are the source of the problem. The last thing you want to do at a time when racial tensions are running high is to suggest that black people are waging war on the police, when they are most certainly not doing anything of the sort.

There’s no legitimate journalistic justification for what the New York Post did. Things are bad enough in America when you just look at the facts, honestly.

But I guess you can say one thing for the New York Post: Capitalizing on racialized fear after a tragedy will probably help it sell papers.

Irresponsible was the word of choice as well for Huffington Post’s Michael Calderone. “Shockingly irresponsible,” he wrote of the choice, “even for a paper that once recklessly insinuated two bystanders at the Boston Marathon bombing were suspects in the attack.”

And while The Washington Examiner did a more straight report of the Post’s front page choice, it noted the Post’s front page was “published despite the scarcity of information regarding the chaos in Dallas” and “presented no new information on those responsible for the attacks.”