What’s Wrong With This Headline?

Wednesday's Example of Media Bias   —   Posted on August 29, 2007

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Example of Media Bias:

What’s Wrong With This Headline?:

“Bush Motorcade Kills Cop”

When I first read it, I assumed one of the limos had swerved into a crowd. But no, here’s what happened. A member of the President’s motorcade died Monday when his motorcycle crashed violently near a parking garage. Police aren’t saying exactly what happened yet, but I don’t think anyone suspects foul play.

The suggestion of Time [Magazine’s] headline is that someone is culpable for the officer’s death and the only name in the headline is that of the President. Better options would have been “Bush Motorcade Cop Dies” or perhaps “Presidential Motorcade Officer Killed in Crash.” Time is suggesting blame where none exists.   ………………..

Here are the headlines from a few other major news outlets:

  • “New Mexico motorcycle officer dies escorting Bush” – Reuters
  • “Bush motorcade cop dies in crash” – UPI
  • “One Dead in Bush Motorcade Crash” – ABC News

Time’s phrasing remains unique.

Go to VerumSerum.com for the original posting.

(view the headline and article at Time’s website here:  www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1656739,00.html)

 

 

 

 

 



Questions

1.  What is wrong with Time’s headline “Bush Motorcade Kills Cop”?

2.  What type of bias is this an example of?


Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the answers.
























Answer(s)

1.   The headline told a very different story than the article. Editors, not reporters, are generally responsible for headlines, and they can greatly influence opinions about the news. The importance of a bias-free headline is that most people don’t read every word of every article; they often just skim the headlines. That meant the people who read just the headline got a very different impression from those who read the entire article . (this answer provided by Lynn Davidson in a June 8, 2007 post at Newsbusters.org) 

2.  The headline is an example of bias by spin.