I've received confirmation from the author that there was no editorial change of the headline in a recent story for The Atlantic. Let me explain why I care about this.
Imagine you care deeply about America. It's possible you think current political invective seems unhealthy. But the key to solving any problem is to be more specific.
People disagree about important things. They should get passionate and maybe even upset with each other. But, I think we can all agree, they should be upset because of what their political opponents are trying to do. There was and is good reason to dislike Obamacare, for instance, and it broke my heart so many people angry over "Death Panels".
Two groups should be angry with each other, but I have been seeing, more and more, two groups talking past each other, angry only at a group existing in their imagination.
Of course, we can criticize publications for blatant partisan lying. Fox News gets plenty of heat for this, which keeps other news outlets from engaging in similar narrative nonsense for fear of losing their cultural-influencer-readership. Media criticism has this kind of shape, it's not that everyone reads media criticism, it's mostly just there to shame bad actors.
I feel, if you violate the inverted pyramid standard to achieve a similar thing, you're just as bad. It's clear most people won't read the article, all they will know is that some liberal yahoo is willing to insult conservatives. Even when the content of the article is closer to the opposite!
This is the tip of the sword, people. This is the smallest possible change we can make to American culture that will fix the root of the dysfunction. And I formally retract my guesses Emily Yoffe, writer for the Atlantic, was somehow buffalo'd into this. When directly asked for comment, she denied a headline change, which is... unresponsive to the core question of whether the headline was written by an editor or not, but I guess I don't care. It's irresponsible to have that be the headline intentionally. If you run an anger-stoking headline with a reasonable article body, you'll only display how reasonable you are to people who agree with you, which makes the whole problem worse.