Monday, February 13, 2006

Bad Headlines


Writing headlines is hard, I know -- both my parents and my in-laws owned newspapers, my wife used to write tons of press releases, and I worked on the school paper in college, and it's nowhere near as easy as you'd think. Sometimes you mean to say one thing, and then when you go back and re-read what you wrote you've actually said something quite different.

Even the Big Boys get it wrong.

For instance, MSNBC.com is the largest news site on the Internet. And yet, sometimes even their headlines are really, really bad. Here's a sampling from today's edition that made me laugh, along with the alternate interpretation I had when first looking at them:


  • American Cheek 'blew everybody away' in 500M - You would think it would be American Lips doing the blowing, but apparently no, it's just the cheeks.

  • Cheney's accident victim stable - He needs a whole stable to keep his accident victims in?! I thought it was just one guy he shot!

  • British soldier held in videotape beating - When, oh when, will the military quit abusing videotapes? I could see it if they were beating DVD's but video?! That's just cruel.

  • Hurricane homeless lose hotel battle - I find it sad that so many homeless hurricanes are wandering the streets without a hotel.

4 comments:

Jill Phenix Avila said...

How about this one..
The sport of ice dancing..?? wait before anyone jumps on me I love ice skating but come on, they should have to see who can throw who higher, who can go the fastest and they should have a start and finish line.. How about extra points if the girls throw the guys?

TexasAnnie said...

Waaaayyyy back when I was in college, the journalism professors warned and warned us to be careful with our headlines. There was a lot of smirking going on when one young college student put a headline like this on the front page of the Daily Texan newspaper:
Pubic Funding Gives Students a Chance.
People! You have to be careful out there!

The Cow Whisperer said...

How about this one:

Cheney shoots lawyer; Demonstrators chant "Only one?"

Jill Phenix Avila said...

Baxter Black- "WELL, DUH!" | On The Edge of Common Sense
Newspaper headlines too often state the obvious as 'news.' So this week Baxter's come up with a few of his own equally obvious (and witty) observations...
By Baxter Black, DVM | Cowboy Poet and Humorist | weekly western column
Posted Monday, June 13, 2005
An Associated Press headline caught my attention, CRIME RATE FALLS BUT PRISONS STILL FULL"
Well, duh...where do you think the criminals are?
"I train my horses with a 2 x 4, but they won't let me touch their head."
"We built our home on the edge of the wilderness but (mountain lions, rattlesnakes, flood, forest fires, take your pick) have made living here unbearable."
"We used to have a lot of birds around here till we went in the cat business."
"I decided to act as my own lawyer in the divorce proceedings and lost everything!"
"Every time I turn my head like this, it hurts my neck!"
"I nominated (right wing/left wing) extremists for the federal judgeships and the loyal opposition is filibustering their approval!"
"I expect to be paid what I'm worth but no one will hire me!"
"How do you expect me to finish my homework when American Idol is on!"
"Every time I pull the cinch real tight my horse goes down!"
"Do you think this hub cap belt buckle, and 12" hat crown makes me look too Hollywood?"
"You don't think Circle K is "Giant" sizing its fountain drinks just for the money, do you?"
On the Mexican border we occasionally have vigilantes or Minutemen come down to help patrol the border to inhibit the uncontrollable illegal immigration. There is always a huge cry raised by "pro-illegal immigration" folks. Indignant headlines come down on these volunteers; the potential for confrontation, injury, and believe it or not...the fact that their presence actually deters the illegals! "What do they think they're doing? Taking the law into their own hands!"
I remembered years ago one snowy winter I took a shortcut out across the sagebrush flats from Grandview, Idaho, to Boise. I got stuck, so I called Harold, the truck dispatcher and told him I needed a pull. He said, "That road's closed!" I said, "I know, I had to move the 'road closed' sign to get on it." Well, duh.
Damon Runyon, writer and Pueblo, Colorado boy said it best, "Life is tough, and really tough when you're stupid."
Ooh, Damon, that hurts.