The Washington Post was blasted on social media Monday over the initial headline of a University of Virginia shooting story that said the suspected gunman — accused of fatally shooting three players on the school’s football team and wounding two other students — had a “troubled childhood, but then flourished.”
— TheBlaze (@TheBlaze)
The headline appeared to have been changed sometime after 12:10 p.m. Monday to read, “Suspected U-Va. gunman was scrutinized by threat assessment team for weapon, police say.”
The Post’s story indicated it was updated at 12:15 p.m. as well as at 1:15 p.m., but there are no notes in the story describing what was updated.
The Post on Monday told TheBlaze in a statement that “the headline was changed following the press conference when new information was learned. This is a developing story.”
‘You’ve gotta be kidding’
A number of folks on Twitter were none too pleased with the wording of the Post’s original headline, which described suspect Christopher Darnell Jones Jr. as having “flourished” after going through a “troubled childhood.”
Daily Wire senior editor Cabot Phillips tweeted, “Just an unbelievable headline from the Washington Post about the mass shooter at UVA. You’ve gotta be kidding …”
Rob Eno, media critic for BlazeTV, mocked the Post by saying that “democracy also dies when you hide former headlines without even [an] editors note … To the rest of you, this is a textbook case of the media lying to you.”
“So yea whoever wrote this headline should be fired,” one commenter said. “Didn’t realize flourishing meant murdering people. Washington Post at it again.””Talk about a bizarre headline,” another user reacted. “Is he gonna ‘flourish’ in prison?””With headlines like this, you’ll put @TheBabylonBee out of business,” another commenter told the Post. “This is @Salon level stupidity.””One of the most disgusting headlines I have ever seen printed,” another user declared. “Shame on you @washingtonpost.””This guy allegedly murdered three people and shot five total, and the @washingtonpost describes him as a guy who ‘flourished.’ Pathetic,” another commenter said.
Jones — a former player on the school’s football team — was taken into custody Monday following a manhunt of more than 13 hours after the shooting on the Charlottesville campus, the Associated Press reported. Jones was charged with three counts of second-degree murder and three counts of using a handgun in the commission of a felony, ESPN said.
The players who were fatally shot have been identified as junior receiver Lavel Davis Jr. of Dorchester, South Carolina, junior receiver Devin Chandler of Huntersville, North Carolina, and junior defensive end/linebacker D’Sean Perry of Miami, school President Jim Ryan said during a Monday news conference, ESPN said.
— Dan Kennedy 13News Now (@Dan Kennedy 13News Now)
Ryan said two other unidentified students were shot and hospitalized, the sports network reported, adding that Ryan said one student was in good condition, and the other was in critical condition.
The shooting took place on a charter bus that had returned to campus after students attended a play in Washington, D.C., as part of a class field trip, Ryan said, according to ESPN.