NPR called out for reporting ‘letdown,’ ‘disappointment’ over Michelle Wu’s Boston mayoral win

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu

National Public Radio (NPR) sparked controversy for appearing to downplay Michelle Wu’s historic win as Boston’s first elected female and Asian American mayor. 

The article: A story published by the media platform drew backlash for its lede, which referred to Wu’s victory as a “letdown” after she defeated three Black candidates running against her, reported the New York Post

The response: Former Portland State University professor of philosophy Peter Boghossian, who recently resigned from the school citing a culture of “illiberalism,” was one of many who took to Twitter to comment, along with former presidential candidate Andrew Yang.

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  • Boghossian reposted a tweet from NPR promoting the article, which referred to Wu’s win as a disappointment, that has since been updated following online backlash. 
  • The updated tweet now says that while “many were hopeful Boston would finally elect its first Black mayor … Black activists and political strategists [are now left to] reflect on what they can learn from the 2021 campaign season.”

NPR on Twitter: 

  • In a separate tweet, the platform stated their original tweet and headline “misrepresented the story” and that they since “have updated the story;” however, the online article kept its controversial lede intact.

Backlash continues: Several users commented with screenshots of the deleted tweet, with some challenging NPR on its original headline and others suggesting they celebrate Wu’s victory “as a win for Asian Americans instead of making it about a loss for Black Americans.”

  • “Oh, please. You meant what you said, just didn’t expect the backlash,” a commenter wrote.
  • “The previous tweet didn’t misrepresent the story at all,” one user pointed out. “You just realized you said the quiet part out loud.”
  • “You didn’t get it right the second time either. What’s going on over there?” another user asked.
  • “No, that was literally your article,” wrote another. “Basically saying it’s a disappointment b/c the ‘wrong minority’ won.”
  • “Nice try in cleaning up but wrong again!” political strategist Chung Seto chimed in. “Michelle Wu, the first woman, first Asian American won in a heated contest that included other women of color. They endorsed her after loss [sic]. You are stoking false divisions! You don’t get to steal the joy of this historic moment!”

Wu, a daughter of Taiwanese immigrants, won the general election by 28 points over Polish Arab American and fellow Democrat Annissa Essaibi George and was sworn in as Boston’s mayor on Nov. 16.

Featured image via Michele Wu

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