In pictures: The ‘ugliest’ day in American history
It was unlike anything the world’s oldest democracy, and pre-eminent superpower, had ever witnessed. As for the rest of the world, they could only watch in shock and wonder — and in countries (such as China) that have been at the receiving end of America sermonising them on democracy, with a certain schadenfreude.
Trump had for weeks made a series of devious and dastardly attempts at overturning Biden’s legitimate victory, and this was his last-gasp assault to steal the election. This wasn’t a peaceful protest or an agitation, this was insurrection, an assault on democracy itself. And those doing his bidding were a white mob, at least one of whom could be seen waving a Confederate flag, a shameful reminder of slavery and a symbol of racism.
It was one of those days that called for a headline that rose above the functional. And as with all such big news days — whether in India or overseas — the editor reached out to colleagues for suggestions. There were many that were on-point and worthy of consideration. But the search for a headline for the ages continued, and minutes away from deadline for the first edition, in a back-and-forth between the editor and a senior colleague, a headline struck, and stuck: “Coup Klux Klan: Don Triggers Mob & Rob Bid”. There was a brief debate over whether the reference to the Ku Klux Klan — the white supremacist hate group that Trump has long played footsie with — might be lost on some readers in India.
But given the worldwide and decades-long notoriety of the KKK, and the highly educated profile of the regular TOI reader, the decision was to go with it. Little did we know at the time that it would set the internet on fire, especially among Americans (and not just PIOs).
The headline almost immediately took on a life of its own, becoming, in the news space, a global blockbuster. Although there were/are multiple ‘threads’, it was a tweet by the US-based Dr Krupali — “Oh India KNOWS how to write a headline” with an image of the front page of The Times of India (the first edition) — that went viral. Within the first two days, it had chalked up over 380,000 likes, about 75,000 retweets, and 4,600 quote tweets (which are like comments). In terms of traction, that represents more than 30 times the approximately 11,400 followers that the handle @krupali has.
Oh India KNOWS how to write a headline. https://t.co/jL3R9dQ2BD
— DR. KRUPALI 🇺🇸 (@krupali) 1610128966000
For a bit of perspective on how massive this is: The closest any other engagement came to the TOI headline was a video on the Capitol siege shared by Josh Campbell, a CNN correspondent — 55,000 likes and 31,500 retweets. TOI’s was 7 and 2.4 times that, respectively. Most other tweets, including from mainstream outlets, didn’t make it beyond 2,000 likes. On Facebook and Instagram, too, the headline was a hit.
What the TOI headline highlights is the power of print in driving conversation on the important issues of the day — across platforms (whether print, TV or digital) and beyond national and continental boundaries.
‘FRAME IT’, ‘PURE ART’, ‘GREATEST EVER’, ‘SAVAGE’, ‘JOURNALISM AT ITS FINEST’, ’10/10′, ‘CHILLINGLY ACCURATE’, ‘MASTERFUL’ — HEADLINE IS A RAGE ON TWITTER
@timesofindia can you provide all of America with a copy? You’ll make millions if not more..
— DR. KRUPALI 🇺🇸 (@krupali) 1610136203000
@krupali @timesofindia I would definitely pay extra for a copy of this absolute BEAUTY!
— Missy Woford (@Missy_Woford) 1610141916000
@krupali @timesofindia I would definitely buy a couple! This headline is brilliant!
— (((Dorie Bernstein)))🗽❄🌈✡ (@dorie_bernstein) 1610173295000
@krupali @timesofindia Yes please!♀️ I will take two copies! India journalist say it like it is…. nevermind b… https://t.co/ePVoJiODAM
— DJ (@TX_Girl77) 1610141434000
@anmolm_ @jaketapper @TOIIndiaNews This just may be the greatest headline ever!
— Dotards Anonymous (@dotards) 1610206570000
.@TOIIndiaNews is absolutely savage https://t.co/Li1ncdO6OO
— Anmol मैनी (@anmolm_) 1610078853000
@krupali @apoorva_nyc @drkomanduri @FutureDocs @AliRaja_MD @alikhan28 @chhabs @hari @om can someone please get a co… https://t.co/RYlt5IkZhs
— Jimmy Molina (@TheJimmyMolina1) 1610138613000
@krupali @AshaRangappa_ @apoorva_nyc @drkomanduri @FutureDocs @AliRaja_MD @alikhan28 @chhabs @hari @om love the “se… https://t.co/2jVA0pC267
— Tony Yoder (@yodermon) 1610130139000
@krupali @apoorva_nyc @drkomanduri @FutureDocs @AliRaja_MD @alikhan28 @chhabs @hari @om Lol i had to read it like 3… https://t.co/5WdvUnwvRy
— Liz (@Mz_Liz_) 1610139478000
@krupali @KaiserNeko @apoorva_nyc @drkomanduri @FutureDocs @AliRaja_MD @alikhan28 @chhabs @hari @om This is a hall… https://t.co/oc6e4cnPsM
— Koda89 – ENVTuber (@KodaKazar) 1610145400000
@krupali @TinResistAgain @apoorva_nyc @drkomanduri @FutureDocs @AliRaja_MD @alikhan28 @chhabs @hari @om They need t… https://t.co/L4uw0aZP9O
— RememberHarpersFerry (@FerryHarpers) 1610131294000
@krupali [whistles] That’s some David King shit there. Loads of possibilities… [takes notes] Look at the images the… https://t.co/jporReXywv
— Jinsbek 💗 (我々/nosotros/oni/xe/they) ♿🍐 (@Jinsbek) 1610145018000
“Coup Klux Klan”. Times of India on point with their headline https://t.co/R3beI1gYYI
— Tuma (@tumabasa) 1610214515000
Just seen the ‘Times of India’ headline on America; “Coup Klux Klan” and I think it’s journalism at its finest.
— Tom Dingley (@TomDingleyPhoto) 1610206694000
WHY WAS IT INDIA TO COME UP WITH COUP KLUX KLAN AND NOT US https://t.co/keq0xeXpUq
— Jacquelyn (@jacqueIynx) 1610147450000
@RogueFirstLady Watching from afar (New Zealand), I agree. This headline from India has to be my favourite.”Coup… https://t.co/dCFkowzdNn
— Ruth McMonagle (@ruth_mcmonagle) 1610223420000
Just saw a meme of a news title from India regarding what happened at the capitol with “Coup Klux Klan”10/10 writing creativity
— Karlie Marie Kiel (@karlie_kiel7) 1610329358000
@krupali @apoorva_nyc @drkomanduri @FutureDocs @AliRaja_MD @alikhan28 @chhabs @hari @om Wow, US of Anarchy. And Hor… https://t.co/rxTp1KO8jk
— TracyD (@TracyD29537772) 1610131663000
@krupali @apoorva_nyc @drkomanduri @FutureDocs @AliRaja_MD @alikhan28 @chhabs @hari @om They are experts with this… https://t.co/6fqwJ4OD5G
— Mary Towndrow (@marytcdnchick) 1610149328000
@krupali @apoorva_nyc @drkomanduri @FutureDocs @AliRaja_MD @alikhan28 @chhabs @hari @om Oh yes, helluva headline!… https://t.co/ldP5aN71nP
— Clarabelle 💙 (@shuftiscope) 1610171745000
out of the thousands of languages, the times of india chose to speak facts ✨ https://t.co/SCcxJv6o14
— tenz⁷ (@urstrulytenz) 1610210570000
give them the Pulitzer Prize right now https://t.co/7OaBiCIR1s
— deanpatton (@dean5patton5) 1610158842000
@ProfSunnySingh Is there a piece you’d recommend on how Indian English so often rises above all other Englishes in… https://t.co/DhHImktO7w
— Ben Phillips (@benphillips76) 1610188572000
This is the type of headline we need in America. https://t.co/Tkuq8vJl0I
— Amanda Blount 🌊 (@amandablount2) 1610145311000
The front page of The Times of India is perfection. Coup Klux Klan. Pure genius. https://t.co/mdDtFavuhX
— Sognando di Sicilia pensa che tr*mp è un traditore (@lastrega) 1610241379000
India also knows how to give birth to brilliant minds: Kamala Harris, Vanita Gupta … well, you get my point. Than… https://t.co/5YJrC0unGA
— Carol Kennedy (@carol823599) 1610131187000
Among the darkness that has swept modern Indian society, one aspect that has remained a strength is copywriting pro… https://t.co/N6ksxqeyuf
— Mihir Nanavati (@mihiresy) 1610129333000
@krupali @apoorva_nyc @drkomanduri @FutureDocs @AliRaja_MD @alikhan28 @chhabs @hari @om There must be some World’s… https://t.co/5lZ1etzvpR
— Persister Sister (@PersisterSister) 1610145659000
@branH9 @tomavgeek @barronjohn1946 Try harder. Did you see the headline from India? Coup Klux Klan. Wittier than y… https://t.co/frhtZUTauZ
— LauraBearish1966 (@LauraBe08859061) 1610197977000
@anmolm_ @jaketapper @TOIIndiaNews Outstanding headline. Clever and chillingly accurate.
— Michigan Coalition for Human Rights (@MichiganRights) 1610205511000