The New York Times is under attack from the people of Britain for claiming that a string of recent terror attacks has left the population “reeling”.
A Times report of the latest atrocity, which claimed seven lives in central London, said terror had been visited on “a nation still reeling” from the attack on Manchester 12 days earlier:
Defiant Britons took umbrage at the description, which implied that the campaign of violence against them was proving effective.
The epithet was described as “absurd and scandalous”, while others derided their attempt to “crassly” capture the mood of the nation.
London is the city of the Blitz. Absurd and scandalous to suggest Londoners are reeling or scared. Mourning the dead, yes. On with #GE2017
— Jason Cowley (@JasonCowleyNS) June 4, 2017
The backlash soon built pace on social media, with several users publishing photographs of London during The Blitz – the merciless WWII bombing campaign by Nazi Germany which left the city devastated, but ultimately undefeated.
Derision then turned to mockery, with the satirical hashtag #ThingsThatLeaveBritainReeling developing a life of its own, listing minor inconveniences more likely to upset the Times‘ imaginary thin-skinned Brit:
Someone other than Attenborough doing voice over on nature documentaries #ThingsThatLeaveBritainReeling
— Jane (@MakePeaceLvJoy) June 4, 2017
The same person holding several doors in a row open for you and running out of different ways to say thanks #ThingsThatLeaveBritainReeling
— Ms Thomas (@thiannon_rhomas) June 4, 2017
— Charles Rothwell (@charlierothers) June 4, 2017
Unfortunately, the Times has a habit of tone-deafness when reporting on the UK, particularly on matters of terrorism.
The paper found itself at the center of a political crisis in the aftermath of the Manchester attack after it printed sensitive, classified evidence on its front page.
Its 25th May edition, three days after the attack, carried a photograph of bomber Salman Abedi’s backpack bomb, and photographs online showed the bloodstained interior of the crime-scene.
British police condemned the unauthorised publication, believed to have been leaked to the Times via US officials.
The British government responded by revoking US access to evidence from the investigation, a major diplomatic incident which prompted President Trump to intervene and demand an investigation.
The faux pas extend to the more everyday as well.
In April, Heat Street reported how the paper became a laughing stock in British media circles for failing to understand a joke column, and reporting it as real.
A much-derided feature – ominously entitled Will London Fall? – seized upon an a humor piece about Emmanuel Macron, the new French president, as a serious example of xenophobia, when in fact it was a joke.
The trend is all the more baffling considering the newspaper’s current CEO is British.
Mark Thompson, the former head of the BBC, crossed the Atlantic in 2012 – but has seemingly yet to teach his staff how to better understand his former home.