Tuesday, August 6, 2019

The Star's Creative Headline Writing Team Is At It Again: Trump Edition

Posted By on Tue, Aug 6, 2019 at 11:27 AM

click to enlarge COURTESY OF BIGSTOCK
  • Courtesy of BigStock

I had no intention of posting today, and certainly not about another front page Star headline after writing about a misleading front page headline Monday. But then again, I had no idea I would encounter this headline when I opened the morning paper:
Trump vows 'urgent resolve' after weekend's mass killings
It's atop an Associated Press story about the speech Trump read from a teleprompter Monday in response to the country's two most recent mass killings. The AP story covers what Trump said, but it also notes that this and similar statements he has made in the past fly in the face of his lack of action on gun regulations and his intention to put what he calls the "invasion" of our southern border at the center of his campaign, stirring up hatred and division to drive his supporters to the polls.

The Star headline, unlike the AP article, assumes that Trump's statement in his speech, "We vow to act with urgent resolve," actually means something, that if he said it, we can take the man at his word.

As the old saying goes, or kinda goes: Fool the media once, shame on you. Fool the media a thousand times, beginning way back when you said your father loaned you a million dollars which you paid back with interest when he actually gave you $400 million and bailed your ass out time and time again, shame on the media.

Before I wrote this post, I checked to see if the Star just took the headline from its AP feed, at which time the blame goes to the news agency. Nope. I googled the story. In dozens of news outlets, the headline is a variant of "Trump vows action after the shootings, but gives few details." The last phrase, "but gives few details," adds the necessary skepticism to Trump's "vow." The Star headline traffics in blind faith.

It was definitely a Star exclusive. And, I should add, a print edition exclusive. On the Star's own website the headline reads, "Trump vows urgent action after the shootings, offers few details."

That's twice in two days some creative headline writer at the Star took a reasonably accurate headline and screwed it up, both times on the paper's big front page story. On Monday, a perfectly good headline had already been written for the online version, but it was changed for the worse. Today, a perfectly good AP headline which virtually every other news outlet used or altered slightly was changed to the point that it misrepresented the contents of the article.

Maybe I shouldn't worry. After all, I'm a big supporter of the Star, which I think is a quality local paper with many first rate journalists. I start every day with a cup of coffee in my hand and the Star on my lap. Maybe this is just a one-off — actually a two-off — and it won't happen again.

I certainly hope so. If the Star continues to indulge in this kind of headline writing, the paper and the community will be worse for it.

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