World Trade Center attack
This series of photographs shows hijacked United Airlines Flight 175 as it approaches (upper L) and impacts the World Trade Center's south tower (L), bursting into flames and raining a hail of debris on lower Manhattan September 11, 2001. A gaping hole in the north tower (R) can be seen following a similar attack earlier in the day.Reuters

In an embarrassing turn of events for the liberal flag bearer, the New York Times called the 9/11 Al-Qaeda terror strike on the twin towers of the World Trade Center in 2001 an 'airplane attack' and then deleted the tweet and edited the story in the face of rising criticism.

The NYT's original tweet read: "18 years have passed since airplanes took aim and brought down the World Trade Center." The paper also tweeted out the news story that was titled 'Remembering Those Lost 18 Years Ago' on Wednesday, the 18th anniversary of the World Trade Center attack that killed nearly 3,000 people in the worst ever carnage on the US soil. The news story repeated the tweeted line.

The comments and reactions to the outlandish tweet and its hasty burial ranged from mild-mannered sarcasm to racist and xenohobic outbursts. While some users appreciated the fact that the NYT was shielding innocent Muslims from 'guilt from association', others observed that the paper was obliterating the factual elements in a historic incident -- something that sits uncomfortably with the NYT's hallowed claims to objectivity.

NYT article on 9/11
NYT deletes tweet on 9/11 attack anniversary -  Twitter screenshot 

Outlandish tweet and its hasty burial

"With autonomous airplanes, the @nytimes turned the 9/11 terror attacks into the opening narration of Terminator 2," one comment read.

"And 18 years later, we still somehow allow airplanes to be legal," another said, taking a dig at the way the airplanes were held responsible for the attacks.

"The @NYT says airplanes caused 9/11. Wrong. It was Muslim terrorists who waged jihad on American soil and killed thousands of our fellow countrymen in the name of their religion," said Fox News' Todd Starnes, echoing the wide-ranging sentiment that the NYT deliberately 'de-terrorised' the worst terror attack on the American soil.

"The New York Times is so woke they say 'airplanes' targeted the World Trade Centers - as opposed to Muslim extremists. Appalling, especially on the 18th anniversary of 9/11. #911Anniversary," tweeted another user.

NYT deletes tweet on 9/11 anniversary
New York Times deletes tweet on 9/11 attack anniversary- Twitter screenshot

While the discussion on the weird phrasing raged online, NYT turned around to quickly delete the tweet and update the story. "We've deleted an earlier tweet to this story and have edited for clarity. The story has also been updated," the paper said.

The updated section of the news story read "Eighteen years have passed since terrorists commandeered airplanes to take aim at the World Trade Center and bring them down," placing responsibility for the attack on the Al-Qaeda terror outfit run by Osama bin Laden.

Fox News said The New York Times did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Russia Today was quick to seize the twitter comparisons of NYT reporting with the recent controversial comments of a democratic Congresswoman who referred to the 9/11 attacks as "some people did something."

NYT deletes tweet on 9/11 anniversary
The New York Times deletes tweet on 9/11 anniversary - Twitter screenshot

Ilhan Omar, the Democratic Congresswoman from Minnesota, had been hauled over the coals for her comment, which also triggered an angry outburst from President Donald Trump.

If the twisted tweet and its deletion were a mistake it was a costly, unseemly error from a newspaper of NYT's repute. If it wasn't a mistake, but a carefully taken stand to not hurt sentiments, it still remains unexplained why the NYT withdrew the tweet and changed the story.