How should you know? You’re not here. But have you noticed a seismic shift in headlines? You haven’t? Well, take another look at the title of this post. It, and they ask, but don’t tell.
“Who Had Face Time with Kim Jong-un?”
“How Much Snow will we Get?”
“Who Will Replace Raul Castro?”
Headlines used to tell us stuff. Now they ask.
Whatever happened to
“CIA Chief Meets North Korean Dictator”
“Forecasters: Four Inches of Snow Possible Tomorrow.”
“Communist Official to Replace Castro in Cuba.”
The ultimate Variety headline:
“Hicks Nix Stix Pix” becomes “Who’s boycotting Rural Movies?”
And to carry this to an even sillier level:
“Who Quit the War in the Pacific?” instead of
This is part of the self immolation of print and some electronic media. It may be clickbait now but a year from now it’s going to be soooo 2018.
If we knew whether there was going to be a hearing for an accused murderer why would we need the Dogpatch Daily Dispatch? Here’s a case of the paper trying to edit its readers. Earth to Perry White: It doesn’t work that way.
And this is not only the work of papers like the Dogpatch Dispatch. Here’s the mighty New York Times:
“When Superheros Battle Evil, Why does Washington Always Lose?”
How about this from the near-mighty Washington Post:
“What Would Prince Want?” It’s about the estate of the late entertainer formerly known as Prince and then, later, again, known as Prince.
And the ever-staid Associated Press:
“Is Executing Elderly or Infirm Inmates Cruel?”
The world’s greatest trade press, the Wall Street Journal:
“Is the U.S. Shale Boom Hitting a Bottleneck?”
And it’s not just in the US. How’s this from the Toronto Star”
“Did Randy Hiller Not See the Wire for the Trees?” (It’s about an accident.)
So the daily paper has become a quiz show. But with no prizes. No Johnny Olson or Don Pardo to tell us what we’ve won.
This is lazy. It’s a way for us dummies who still are interested in the news to stay hooked. Oh, boy. I don’t know the answer to that. Let me guess. Yes, I’ll bet it was some Korean guy met with the CIA chief.
Bingo. You win… nothing. And you paid a buck to participate… if you actually bought the paper instead of picking it up where someone left it on the train in violation of the conductors’ demand to take it with you.
Or maybe your CableVermin trial subscription just ended and you are paying $112.85 for the privilege of clicking the sports page of the Dogpatch Dispatch, plus the porn sites -- such as there are left of them -- that you check daily via “private browsing” or “Incognito Window.”
Advertorials have permeated even the loftiest of print and internet sites. They’re supposed to be clearly marked as sponsored content and often are. But there’s another way to tell: The headlines don’t ask you anything. They TELL you. Yes, as the so-called wall between editorial and ads crumbles faster than Gorby tore his wall down and faster than trump can put his up, the true headline writing talent now resides with the advertising copywriters.
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2018. Now what do you think of that?