Friday Mailbag: A Patriots Photo Lets Trump Score a Point
The New England Patriots, winners of Super Bowl LI ' as much as that still pains us to say ' visited the White House on Wednesday, in a customary tradition for American sports champions. The New York Times's Sports section covered the visit, viewed through the political angle that several players skipped the event: Only 34 players attended compared with the nearly 50 the last time the Patriots won the Super Bowl, in 2015, when Barack Obama was president, according to a team representative.
Promoting the story on its Twitter feed, the Sports section spliced photos of the two events together, both taken on the south side of the White House, to indicate the comparative difference in attendance. (The photos were also included in the story.)
The problem, however, was that the photo taken Wednesday included only players and coaches, whereas the photo taken during President Obama's tenure included over 40 additional support staff ' who, this time around, were seated on the South Lawn ' which greatly exaggerated the difference.
After the Patriots pointed this out through the team's Twitter handle, the Times Sports section promptly sent another tweet to correct the earlier one, then removed the photo from its story and appended a correction.
By Thursday morning President Trump had gotten wind of the error.
Several readers were upset that The Times provided ammunition for right-wing critics.