What's With The Contradicting Headline? (The Latest In A Series…)

November 15th, 2010 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

By Arthur Alpert

Is it illiteracy or lack of scruple?

The headline a Journal editor affixed atop the Op Ed column by E.J. Dionne Jr. Friday, Nov. 12 denied what Dionne wrote.

The Journal headline said, “Dems Should Stake Out Middle.” But Dionne argued they should stand their ground and point out Republican extremism.

So why that headline?

Does the Journal employ a rubric writer incapable of grasping Dionne’s meaning? Given the general level of intellect Journal management regularly manifests, it’s possible.

However, given the daily’s estrangement from scruple, it’s also plausible editors intentionally composed a headline contradicting the essay.

But that’s indecent, so I’ve searched for a third explanation but unsuccessfully.

Unless, unless, it was an accident.

The “accident” scenario that follows is far-out, so please bear with me:

Few would dissent from the proposition that Journal management is slavishly dedicated to the GOP line; it’s so blatant I’m reminded of how the Daily Worker toed the Communist Party line in the 1930s-40s-50s.

So it’s conceivable there’s Republican National Committee material lying around the bosses’ offices. Editors may, in fact, access the RNC website daily and print out the order of the day before the morning meeting.

If so, might a stray sentence from the GOP playbook have migrated to the Op Ed page and subsequently landed, willy-nilly, on Dionne’s essay?

I cannot know, but I hope so.

For at a newspaper, willy-nilly strikes me as less serious than illiteracy and lots less damning than lack of scruple.

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One Comment so far ↓

  • Roland

    I would propose a third alternative explanation — the political biases of the ABQ Journal editors are reflected in their article headlines, which they regard as a succinct and relevant summary of the main message of the article. Problem is, they are blinded by their own biases which often leads them to concoct a completely distorted headline. They seem to have a rather low opinion of the intelligence of their readers. They presume that the dysjunct between article content and headline will not be pointed out (and, of course, if a sharp-eyed reader such as yourself points it out in a letter to the editor, they can just deep-six it!). They seem to presume that most readers will skim the newspaper, touching lightly on the article titles and delving deeper only into those that draw their interest. In this fashion, the ABQ Journal fulfills its role as purveyor of propaganda for the Republican party and it virtually never gets held accountable. Other examples of this dishonesty are clear if you scan the by-lines given to photos that accompany ABQ Journal articles, which sometimes run totally contrary to the content of the article. One example that comes to mind is when the Journal published an article on the infamous Downing Street memo (which was very damning of the Bush administration because it documented that they were looking for excuses to invade Iraq). The article was buried as a small blurb inside the ABQ Journal and the editors inserted this mind-boggling caption: “Bush: military intervention just one of many options.” This was not only contrary to the major thrust of the article, but it was also misleading and manipulative of the readers, many of whom skim articles reading only the captions rather than in depth!

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