Category: Headlines that Lie

Corporations, Corporations, Everywhere, Nor Any Drop to Drink

By , October 22, 2014 11:32 am

In case you don’t get the allusion in the title, it’s to a stanza in Coleridge’s poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner:

Water, water, everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink.

I changed a few words to reflect the thinking of’s Lindsay Abrams in her piece Water is the new oil: How corporations took over a basic human right. Two-thirds of the article is an interview Abrams did with Karen Piper, a journalist touting her new book The Price of Thirst: Global Water Inequality and the Coming Chaos, a book now on my wish list, by the way.

The problem with Abram’s story, however, is that it doesn’t deliver on its headline, nor does it deliver on her claim, a claim she makes near the beginning of the piece: “While it’s shocking to watch a city [Detroit] deny the rights of its own citizens, that’s nothing compared to what could happen if private water companies are allowed to take over.” Really? Why is that? Ultimately, she doesn’t say.

Instead, she goes on (or the interview does) to report example after example of governments (Turkey, for example, LA County for another) quasi-governmental organizations (IMF and World Bank), and wannabe governments (ISIS) that are doing much or most of the water damage.

Now, I don’t doubt that water is (or will be soon) a very big problem. Nor do I doubt that some corporations are (or will be) to blame for some of those problems. But why the headline “How corporations took over a basic human right” when the proffered solution-—government-—doesn’t look so hot and when she offers so little evidence of corporate malfeasance?

Methinks it’s because the word corporation sounds oh so much more nefarious than the word government. Based on Abrams’s story, however, maybe we have more to fear from the guys and gals in the white hats.

Cross posted at

Another Dissembling Headline

By , September 11, 2014 7:54 am

Why do they do this? Is the headline tease, the need for readership so important that many in the media stoop to misrepresenting the essential truth of a story. This story for example, from Detroit’s Fox News 2. Here’s a screen capture of the headline:

2014-09-11_Uniform Not Allowed

If you stop at the headline, you’re pissed. Another zero-tolerance policy from a brain dead school administration? you wonder. What’s this country coming to?

And then you read the story. It wasn’t the school, it was a security guard with a firm contracted by the school to handle security. And what did the school administration do when it found out what had happened?

Rochester Schools superintendent Robert Shaner, who is a veteran himself, quickly took care of the situation apologizing to the family for their troubles.

Shaner sent a letter to Fox 2 which says: ‘The district has apologized for any perception that individuals in uniform are not welcome in the school. The district does not have a policy excluding individuals in uniform and will be working with administration and the firm that handles our security to make sure district policies are understood and communicated accurately.’ (Emphasis supplied)

So why is this a story in the first place? You can guess what I think is the reason by looking at the category tags below.

Cross posted to

The More Things Change . . .

By , July 16, 2014 11:23 am

Pampering Illegal Aliens
Reminds me of this:
Charges of Pampering Japanese
Cross posted to

Another Headline that Doesn’t Deliver

By , September 4, 2013 11:26 am

I am not an Obama fan. Never have been. But neither am I a fan of headlines and taunts that promise one thing and deliver another. Case in point, the headline at this link and the text beneath it. Compare them with what the President says in the video at the same link.

Note how he even refers to the press conference in which he originally talked about the red line: “When I said, in a press conference, that my calculus about what’s happening in Syria would be altered by the use of chemical weapons . . . ”

Only someone who willfully tries to misunderstand what Obama is saying in that video–the press conference in Sweden–could write the headline and accompanying text. In short, the claims at the link are bald face lies.

Folks, we’re in serious times. We’re at the brink of possible war. Lives are at stake. So, sure, hold the President accountable for what he says and does about Syria, but don’t make stuff up. Now is not the time to score political points based on a willful misunderstanding (aka misrepresentation) of what your political opponent says.

And yes, I’m fully aware that the current occupant of the White House and his sycophants in the media have done similar things to his opponents. Shame on all of them, red and blue.

Who Should You Trust? Certainly Not the Headlines.

By , December 13, 2012 8:59 am

Instapundit sports the following post today:

Click on the link, and you find yourself on the Forbes website, with an article of the same title as Instapundit’s link:


Trouble is, you’ll read in vain to find anything in the article that says Harvard is strangling satire, likewise in the Harvard Crimson article the Forbes’ article links to. Upset about the satire in question? Yes. Calling people in to question them about who carried out the satire? Yes. Strangling? Hardly. That may come, campus speech codes being what they are, but in this case, it hasn’t yet. In any case, isn’t that the intent of satire, to goad superiors and stir up the masses?

Beyond satire, there’s a lesson in this: Don’t trust headlines. Typically authors don’t write them. Apparently, headline writers are often more interested in being provocative than they are in being accurate. And unfortunately, sometimes they (or their publications) have an agenda, one that relies on you and me to read no further than the headline and one or two paragraphs.

What’s Really Going On in this Photo?

By , December 3, 2012 11:30 am

Ann Althouse has the following post on her blog today:

I love Althouse’s question after the photo:

The media never got Romney, did they? WaPo is presenting “I’ll change your bedpan” as abject and pathetic. Are they only pretending not to understand or does it truly escape them?

Even better is the following comment that proposes a different headline for the photo:

Romney is a good man. Too bad he’s riding this roller coaster rather than the one President Obama’s on.

Read Beyond the Headline, or Why Bother

By , February 16, 2012 4:11 pm

So I”m reading my Twitter feed again, and I see this by the Washington Post:

The Washington Post @washingtonpost Man seated next to crying child on plane opens door, deploys emergency slide:

I click on the accompanying link and read the first body paragraph:

HANOI, Vietnam — A mom with a screaming child wanted a quick getaway from a plane on the tarmac in Vietnam and asked for help. The man next to her obliged by opening the emergency exit and triggering the escape slide.

But that’s as far as they got.

Do you see the problem? The headline gives the impression that we’re going to get a great story about a man doing what everybody has wanted to do once a baby starts crying on the airline. But no. The story is really about how an apparently kind man helped a stressed mother who was looking for a quick exit for her and her crying baby.

In this case, no harm, no foul. Yes, I was disappointed that the story didn’t live up to its headline, but that’s it. But how about this headline: Romney on Birth Control, or worse, the Tweet the lead me to it, both by David Frum:

davidfrum @davidfrum Endorsed “greatly expanded programs of …. family planning services to all those who want but can’t afford them.”

Yes, I know Frum was being cute, but was he being fair? Did he have an obligation to be fair, especially in this birth-control charged moment? You be the judge.

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