Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Are News Headlines Becoming Too Misleading?

It seems to me that nowadays more and more news agencies and reporters are pumping up their stories with headlines that are either biased or subjective. More likely than not, you'll be drawn in by an interested headline, read or watch the story and then realize that the headline was only slightly connected with the story.

I've seen many of these interesting yet misleading headlines in the past few days, but one stuck out to me for more reasons than one.

This story was posted to the "HealthLand" portion of the Times website.
In the times Twitter feed the article link is preceded by an eye-catching and even heart-wrenching line:

"Did veganism contribute to the death of this baby?"

However, once you get to the actual article the story is then titled:
Did Homeopathic Medicine, Breast-Feeding and Veganism Kill a Baby?
(the actual article can be found by following the title link)

Now what first bugged me about this variation in article titles is the imminent difference in immediacy between the two.

The first uses "THIS baby" and the second uses "A baby". Which one would you feel more inclined to read? The one that seems more personal right? Coincidentally, it was used as the bait in a twitter feed.

What bugged me second about this misleading title was the fact that the article provided NO PROOF that the baby's death was attributed to any of the three things accused: Veganism, Homeopathic Medicine, or Breast-Feeding.

Instead the article summed up a big fat case of child-neglect. The attribution of death should be rightfully placed with the parents.

This is one thing that will forever get on my nerves.
Anyone else feel this way?

1. What do you think about misleading links?
2. How often do you find that a news article isn't what you think it is?
3. How about some examples you've seen in the last few days?
4. Sandwiches with or without pickles?


Anonymous said...

1. I hate misleading links. It's just... Ugh, I didn't get what I came for. So depressing.
2. Probably about 2/10 times, at least on the internet.
3. None that I can think of...
4. Sandwiches without pickles, burgers with pickles.


pezasied said...

1. You get used to it
2. About a quarter of the time
3. On CNN is said "Palin Prediction Shocking" as if Sarah Palin made a prediction. but it was just Jesse Ventura talking about her.
4. Fuck pickles

Wintermute said...

yahoo does this a lot, makes me not trust the headlines anymore and therefore not read what they have to say

Leestander said...

1. i dont like them so much, but its fun when you come there then it is somting else
2. on swedish aftonbladet, i find them every day..
3. Mumindad is gay, and it was just some fool on a forum that was say that and the swedish news papers write about it.. so lame
4. Sandwiches without pickles!

Claude said...

1. Urgh misleading links, while sometimes a good thing leading to something interesting, normally lead to something you have no interest in.
2. Only occasionally, however I respect the title normally as if it's good enough to grab attention without being blatantly a lie, it's pretty neat.
3. Just the other day I came across this post
I'll let you check it out to figure out the truth behind the article. However this isn't a lie, only slightly misleading.
4. I do enjoy pickles.

consuela bananahammoc said...

I think they are...nice post :)
x +following :)

Niek said...

1. What do you think about misleading links?
2. How often do you find that a news article isn't what you think it is?
3. How about some examples you've seen in the last few days?
4. Sandwiches with or without pickles?

1. Annoying
2. too much.
3. can't really tell
4. without

mac-and-me said...

1. scam
2. very often
3. mostly german headlines you wont understand
4. with!

Mr. Dough said...

Newspapers live off of sensationalism, that's why all you see on the news is war, violence, horrible accidents, etc.
When in fact these events constitute a minority of what is going on in the world.

1. I disapprove, naturally
2. 99% of the time. It's all propaganda.. er.. I mean, public relations.
3. Iran executions are suddenly of interest in the world news. This wasn't the case for quite some time, however, now that the US has its sights set on the country this comes up.
4. With!

mikkello said...

1. Hate them
2. Sometimes, not so often
3. SOme from Libya
4. Sandwiches without!

SOMS said...

i guess this is the twitter effect? getting people to read your article in really few words.. i think people not reading it might be worse then people actually reading the article. you read it and saw it was bullshit but, what if you only read these headlines what view of the world will you get like this? without pickles.

Kicking Rocks said...

1. they can lead to dangerous places
2. most of the time
3. batman actor dies, oh its just the butler...
4. without!

duffboi said...

Misleading links are annoying. The way my mind works tho, if the article is interesting, I don't mind being misled. With pickles, all the way!

Mr bir said...

great one..following..

Banacek said...

I hate how they always use question marks.

Brock said...

1. It's been going on long before the net, anything to make a buck
2. More often then I should
3. Can't think of any off the top of my head
4. Pickles, extra pickles, more like would you like a sandwich with your pickles

Alphabeta said...

Headlines have *always* been very misleading.

Clueless Dolphin said...

the news is clearly misleading, depends on what publication/channel you watch and what you WANT to hear. reporters are so biased now

Anonymous said...

I'm happy I'm in Canada where the media actually has to tell the truth, and to knowingly lie is against the law. It's a pretty effective law when used against companies or people representing companies, still keeps individual liberties protected.

Punky said...

Headlines are generally misleading, another thing I hate is the priority certain places give certain news stories. Like when Egypt was having their revolution stuff, this one page had a giant headline for Oprah's shocking secret sister, and there was a little tiny headline about Libya.
1. Irritating
2. All the time
3. Can't think of any off the top of my head. They usually involve something distracting parents leading to a child's death or a kid doing something stupid.
4. Depends on the sandwich.

Mostly Irrelephant said...

Maybe not misleading per se. More like sensationalist headlines. Mostly in online magazines that rely on a lot of clicks. So if you stir it up enough, you get a lot of clicks == ad revenue.

Trelin said...

1. evil
2. evil
3. evil
4. pickles are evil, except on mcdonalds burgers for some reason...

Fishy Corporation said...

1. I dont like them if a newspaper uses them, otherwise it does not really matter.
2. Everyday, we have a news paper called Aftonbladet in Sweden (Aftonhoran) Horan = Whore. Anyways they make everything sound so dramatic and making up stories on their own.
3. 100?
4. Pickles is the cancer destroying food, its making food taste like dick. Take cheeseburgers for an example.

Danny Murphy said...

Happens all the time, you'll read a headline think its interesting you then read the full story and realise the headline is total shite.

1. Pisses me off.

2. A few times each week.

3. Few days ago there was a story about an Irish soccer player having a go at the manager, when you read the story you find out it never happened so the headlines makes no sense.

4. Without, except Mcdonalds burgers they are the dogs bollox.

Axis of Evil said...

1. I hate them.
2. Often
3. I can't think of any.
4. Without, I hate pickles.

I tend to use news sources that are publicly funded - they tend to be much less bias and typically don't use misleading headlines, since they don't need to attract more viewers.

Tweeks Coffee said...

great post. following!

Kadiea said...

Who knows. But I would imagine the truth is bended everyday at the 9 o clock news. I always take news with a pinch of salt.

benchmark said...

It's all about the views/readers/clicks. Most people don't read beyond the headline, but if they've gotten that far, they've given the site a view. Mission accomplished.

King Elysium said...

1. I think news has always been this way
2. It depends on what site im on
3. I havent read the news recently
4. ew without

ed said...

news headlines have always been misleading, articles too

Kenzie said...

1. Not the worst thing in the news.
2. All the time.
3. Havent read any.
4. Cucumbers.

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