Harvey Walnut

What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence

Headlines and lies

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We’ve all seen them.  Newspaper headlines that catch the eye, shock us or even get us to buy a paper (becoming a rarity in these digital times).  And boy do they range from the good, the bad and the ugly.  But whatever they say or how good they happen to be there is no excuse for lying,rank stupidity or deliberately misleading the reader as to what the content of the main piece is going to be about.

The Irish Independent has had headlines that were demonstrably untrue or manifestly stupid.

This headline appeared on the 12th of July –  ‘This verdict will tarnish island and damage tourism’, say Irish priest   The readers will most likely  assume that they are now going to get a quote in the first paragraph regarding the priests statement.  Instead we get this.

“A 95-year-old Irish priest who has lived most of his life in Mauritius said he fears the murder of Michaela McAreavey will tarnish the holiday island’s hospitable reputation”.

So on top of the fact that the headline is a lie and has misquoted the priest, the headline writer is either not the brightest person in the world or has so little regard for readership of the Independent that she/he thinks they won’t notice that in the first paragraph of the article we’re shown that the priest said nothing at all about the verdict and was talking about the murder.

The word verdict is not to be seen anywhere in the article outside the headline.  What they did was use the verdict to get people to read a page filler. A non story.

I’ll admit that the Indo is not the only paper to do this but at best it’s shoddy journalism and at worst it’s pure cynicism.


Written by harveywalnut

July 13, 2012 at 12:20 pm

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