Nadiya Hussain Misleading Headline

Nadiya Hussain

One of the subtleties of the Misleading Headline is demonstrated in this article about Nadiya Hussain who won the Great British Bake Off back in 2015. She was interviewed recently and spoke about an incident some thirty years ago in which she was discriminated against because of her race. Hussain did nothing to contribute to the Misleading Headline nor is the writer responsible. It’s just an issue with human nature.

Hussain relates an incident from the past in which she responded to a casting call for hands to display jewelry. She was told that because her skin is black, she was not eligible to participate. The exact words, as Hussain relates were, black hands don’t sell jewelry.

The problem with the headline is it unintentionally implicates the Great British Bake Off in the racist incident. I want to be clear, Hussain had nothing bad to say about the Great British Bake Off. The article’s writer didn’t implicate the show in any way. It is human nature that we associate the Great British Bake Off with the incident of racism because they appear together in the headline.

I feel relatively confident no one intended to impugn the show in any way. The reason the show is mentioned in the headline rather than just Hussain’s name is that the Great British Bake Off is how she came to the public’s attention and the headline probably wasn’t going to generate many clicks with just her name.

Those of us who enjoy the show were instantly drawn to the headline because of the proximity of the show name and the word racism. The burden is upon me, the reader, to comprehend the article and what it means. This is often the problem. People look at a headline or a particular paragraph in an article that aligns with their view of the world and then leap to their own conclusions without using critical thinking and reading comprehension skills.

This problem is what leads to a great deal of censorship or attempt to restrict what we can and cannot read. When we don’t draw logical conclusions, when we let misleading headlines drive our thinking, when outright lies meet with our approval, we create an atmosphere in which the censor feels justified in his or her actions. These people are far too stupid to think for themselves and therefore we, the overseers, must restrict what they can see.

The problem with censorship is that, of course, it doesn’t really work all that well. People who want to find particularly loathsome and violent justifications for their distorted world view find them anyway. Meanwhile, the discerning mind is not allowed to peruse interesting articles that might legitimately sway an opinion.

The solution is not censorship, it is better critical thinking skills. The path to this solution is education in these matters, training the mind, from childhood to think critically. It is only then that the censors have no more justifications and we are truly free.

Like many things in life, the burden is upon our shoulders.

Tom Liberman

Destroying Some People by Paying College Athletes

Destroying Some People

Reggie Bush says paying college athletes will result in destroying some people screams the rather misleading headline. The idea that athletes will soon be paid for their name, image, and likeness (NIL) is the basis for the article. While Bush’s statement is accurate, the gist of his point is about how young athletes coming into large amounts of money will attract those who hope to steal it.

The point here is the headline is completely misrepresenting what Bush is saying. The inference from the headline is Bush is against paying young college athletes based on the idea it will be destroying some people. In reality he is simply stating a fact. If young athletes, or any person, comes into a fairly large amount of money and they don’t have a solid financial background, unsavory people will attempt to steal that money and it has the potential to be damaging.

Now, I’d like to get a little deeper into an analysis of this simple fact. Many people, not Bush to be clear, will use this premise to argue against young athletes receiving money for their NIL. We are protecting this poor, helpless athlete from the terrible dangers of having her or his money stolen and life destroyed. Who is the we? That is the important question for me. The answer is simple enough, we isn’t the one being paid, it’s someone else on their self-righteous pedestal. That is really all you need to know.

The person to be paid needs to be protected by not paying them. We’ll take care of you because there is danger in being wealthy. You’re just not old enough, wise enough, careful enough, wary enough so we’ll watch out for you. This is the paternalistic nonsense that both politicians and those who want to control our lives spout almost continuously. We know what is better for you than you do yourself.

The danger lies in the fact they are sometimes quite correct. This destroying some people by the sudden accumulation of wealth is no idle fantasy. It happens. There are several options here and if you read Bush’s comments in full, he goes into them with great clarity.

His main suggestion is that young athletes be given a solid financial foundation from which they will be able to properly manage their newfound wealth. This is, without question, the best course of action. Another option is to simply give them the money and some percentage will fall victim to rogues. The final option is to tell them they just are not capable of managing the money and therefore you are doing them a favor by prohibiting them from having it.

When you examine these three options with a clear mind, it is obvious the third choice, withholding the money, is far and away the must unethical and disgusting. The terrible part is this is exactly what we’ve been doing for the last who knows how many years. Even worse, I’m sure you can find any number of people who will still argue it right now and they’ll think Bush was doing the same. He wasn’t.

Let people make their own mistakes while giving them as many tools as you can to make good decisions. This is the only correct answer.

Tom Liberman

Scot Peterson Misleading Headline

Scot Peterson Headline

Back in 2018 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Nikolas Cruz murdered seventeen young students and wounded seventeen others while the school’s resource officer, Scot Peterson, hid. A news story recently declared Scot Peterson has been reinstated and that part of the misleading headline is true, what isn’t is the picture of the Broward County Sheriff who announced it. The difference being that the sheriff pictured is a black man and Scot Peterson is a white man.

It’s entirely possible the person who chose to include the picture didn’t intend it to be misleading but there is no doubt it is just that. The picture presumably comes from the press conference in which Scot Peterson was reinstated but it seems pretty clear to me that posting a picture of someone who is not the primary person in the story is misleading at the least.

We live in an age where information is at our fingertips and those with particular agendas take advantage of this fact by putting out misleading information, twisted words, and simple lies in order to further their perceived goals. When we click on such stories, we help spread the misinformation.

I guarantee you right now, because of that picture, people think the person depicted is, in fact, Scot Peterson. I am also certain, for many people, opinions on his reinstatement is dependent on the color of his skin. If you were to show the headline with the accompanying image to people, some would demand he not be reinstated while others would insist upon doing so. However, if a picture of the real Scot Peterson was shown a percentage of those people would give the opposite answer. That’s how powerful a picture can be and that’s why it’s a Misleading Headline.

In this world of disinformation, it’s impossible to stop others from spreading their lies but you can do your best to tell the truth and point out Misleading Headlines where you can. That’s what I try to do.

Tom Liberman

The Daly Vodka Cure Misleading Headline

Daly Vodka Cure

Is the Daly Vodka Cure really what golfer Jon Daly was suggesting in his recent video? It’s an interesting Misleading Headline because Daly pretty much did say that his one drink a day, an entire bottle of Belvedere vodka, was the way to kill Covid-19. However, I don’t think he is really suggesting the Daly Vodka cure as a serious panacea.

If you watch the short video, he advises people to be careful and to be safe and appears, at least to me, to be joking about his Vodka Cure. Here is where it gets fairly interesting for me besides the simple Misleading Headline. I do think Daly is kidding and I think the vast majority of people will agree with me. However, I well-understand people will believe pretty much anything, regardless of how ludicrous, as long as it aligns with what they want to believe.

It’s entirely possible that thousands of people will take the Daly Vodka cure seriously. They will begin to drink a bottle of vodka, washed down with a McDonal’s diet Coke apparently, as a way to ward off the illness. I’m frankly surprised that Daly didn’t suggest his two-pack a day cigarette habit isn’t actually the miracle that warded off Covid-19 but that’s not really the point today.

Daly is a self-destructive person and his habits have wrecked his health and curtailed what was once a promising golf career. People like Daly and in many ways, he is a likeable personality. They find him humorous and entertaining. They see his life and think, why not. It’s not so bad, sure, I’ll likely die young from cancer or cirrhosis of the liver but what the heck, have fun now. And, they are right. That is to say they are right for them. Not for me.

I love life and want more of it. I don’t want to curtail my ability to go hiking, meet fit women at the gym, go out with friends, and enjoy the occasional cocktail. Daly is not of that opinion and I’m sure he is not alone. That’s none of my business. If you think drinking an entire bottle of vodka is a good idea for you, have at it. If you think it’s going to cure your case of Covid-19 when all evidence suggests heavy drinking makes you more susceptible to the disease, again, that’s your decision to make.

I’ll even turn a blind eye, although my favorite mixologist over at Sub-Zero might see it differently, to the horror of blending Belvedere Vodka with Diet Coke, though doing so offends my sensibilities greatly.

Do remember one thing, in addition to the Daly Vodka cure, Daly suggests staying safe and taking care. If you want to destroy your own life, have at it, but if you’re going to risk getting Covid-19 through risky behavior, do the rest of us the favor of staying away.

Tom Liberman

Panera Employee Turnover Misleading Headline

Panera Misleading Headline

There’s an absolutely fascinating article about employee turnover at CNBC but it unfortunately has a completely misleading headline that is nothing more than clickbait. I highly recommend looking at the article despite the Panera Losing All Workers headline.

It is true that Panera loses 95% of their workforce each year but a perusal of the article indicates that is actually a good number in the fast food industry. Most such companies lose nearly 130% of their workforce each year. Panera is actually doing quite well in that regard.

The interesting information comes from the article itself which is lengthy and technical with a variety of useful metrics. Exactly the sort of thing I like to read but I suspect doesn’t get a lot of viewership without misleading headlines. Too bad.

I won’t bore you with the details of the article as this is more about the misleading headline than anything else. Suffice it to say, no one wants to work in the fast food industry and there is no package of salary, benefits, and training that makes sense from a corporate and profitability standpoint that attracts permanent employees to the business. People take the job until they get something better.

The key to staffing such stores is automation and the various companies are moving forward with plans to do so. I wrote about this sort of thing in other places so you can read that article if you desire.

In any case, it’s an excellent and well researched article, just a misleading headline.

Tom Liberman

Reggie Bush and the Detroit Lions Cheap Misleading Headline

Reggie Bush Misleading Headline

An article from Lions Wire, a news outlet associated with the NFL’s Detroit Lions, claims: Reggie Bush takes shot at Lions, calls them cheap. Is it true or is just typical clickbait nonsense? I’m guessing you might already know the answer because this is an article in my Misleading Headline series but I’ll go ahead and finish the job.

The story is relatively simple. There was an image displaying Bush and fellow running back Joique Bell celebrating as teammates on the Detroit Lions. Bush tweeted the image with his own comment that “And then we got cut because they wanted to go cheaper.” It’s a factually true statement. The Lions were interested in cutting payroll because of the salary cap demands in the NFL. They drafted younger players and cut both Bush and Bell.

The move didn’t work out particularly well for the Lions in that the new running backs were not nearly as productive as Bush and Bell. That is somewhat beside the point. Bush didn’t say the Lions were cheap. He said they made a football decision based on payroll. Nor do I even think it was much of a shot at the Lions.

I can’t know for sure what Bush was thinking but I imagine he saw the picture and remembered the next season he was cut from the team in a payroll savings move and commented accurately upon this fact. Maybe he is bitter about it but, in this case, I think he was merely stating a fact rather than taking a shot at anyone.

Tom Liberman

Lakers Superfan Happy to See Team Lose Misleading Headline

Lakers Superfan Misleading Headline

I just read a fascinating article about a fellow named Jimmy Goldstein who is identified as a Lakers Superfan in a Misleading Headline about the Los Angeles Lakers missing the playoffs for the sixth season in a row. The problem is that Goldstein is not a Lakers fan at all, although he loves NBA basketball, claiming to spend nearly half a million dollars a year traveling around the country to see various games.

The implication of the Misleading Headline is that Goldstein wants to see the Lakers miss the playoffs perhaps because he doesn’t like the current coach, because he thinks LeBron James was not a good acquisition, or is unhappy with the direction ownership is taking the team. At least that’s what I thought when I was baited into clicking on the article and perusing it.

It turns out Goldstein, who has had courtside season tickets to the Lakers since 1962, doesn’t like the team and enjoys watching them lose. He hasn’t had much to be cheerful about since the Lakers moved to the City of Angels all those years ago as they’ve been arguably the most successful franchise in the league. So, he’s enjoying the current losing streak immensely and pointedly says that: Lakers fans deserve it.

Now, I certainly question Goldstein going to all those games if he doesn’t like the Lakers. Even if they were a horrible team it seems like an odd way to spend your time. I certainly wouldn’t want to watch games at Wrigley Field for the rest of my life whilst rooting against the Cubs, even if they lost most of the time, a practice I hope they resume again soon. Still, he’s a big NBA fan who lives in Los Angeles and so attends the games. That’s his business. Odd as it seems to me.

In the end, the Misleading Headline should not have called Goldstein a Lakers superfan.

Tom Liberman

Hot Tea Cancer Misleading Headline

Hot Tea

Does drinking hot tea cause esophageal cancer? That’s what my Misleading Headline of the week certainly seems to suggest. Once you spend the time to read the article a different reality emerges.

Putting something scalding hot in your throat, regardless of its composition, causes irritation with in turn leads to an increased risk of cancer. Certainly it’s more common to burn your throat with a liquid than a solid and lots of people drink tea hot therefore it’s a likely culprit, but it’s not the tea causing the problem.

In order to burn your throat with hot items they have to be quite hot, so hot that such tea is rarely drunk in most places in the world. In a few cultures the tea or coffee is kept in a samovar which is continuously heated and it is in these places the studies took places.

Most people wait for their tea, or coffee, or hot toddy, to cool enough where they aren’t burning their throat. Don’t always believe the headline and keep coming back for more Misleading Headlines!

Tom Liberman

Misleading Headline Funds Seized from Student

Misleading Headline Student

Student’s funds seized after he paid $500,000 rent on penthouse blares the completely true but nevertheless Misleading Headline. The general intent of the Misleading Headline in this case is essentially to attract clicks. What, I asked myself, is all of this about? Probably I’m not alone in thinking some poor student is being mistreated by a government agency. Nope.

In this case, a young fellow Vlad Luca Filat moved to London and began studying. He made a number of luxury purchases including the penthouse in question. At issue is that he has no source of income and his father stole in excess of a billion dollars from Moldova while serving as the prime minster of that country. The general assumption being that Filat was using the money his father stole to finance a lavish lifestyle.

The National Crime Agency of the United Kingdom determined this is exactly what happened and seized the young man’s assets.

While the story is certainly a Misleading Headline it shines a light on the enormous amount of money being stolen by politicians in virtually every country in the world. I wrote about a year ago how the world is awash in untraceable money largely looted from the taxes of various nations, that is to say the average person. The looting is worse in some places, in Moldava the amount stolen was equal to 12% of the entire nation’s GDP, but there is no doubt it is happening everywhere including the United States.

This huge amount of stolen money isn’t really a problem for politicians because they’re the ones stealing it. They purchase all sorts of luxury items and pat themselves on the back for helping the economy. The amount of money is so enormous that no one can easily track it and politicians and their allies are simply fools if they don’t join in. That’s the world in which we live. Don’t blame me.

Tom Liberman

Ian Poulter and the Misleading Putting Headline

Ian Poulter

Thanks to TaxibikeRob and Ian Poulter, this week’s Misleading Headline is also informative! The aforementioned Twitter user was confused when he was Poulter putting from on the green with the flagstick still in the hole during the Dubai Desert Classic and made mention of it on his twitter feed. The misleading Headline blared “Fan tries to narc on Ian Poulter putting with flagstick, in predictably gets mocked by Poulter and others.”

Ok, Golf Digest, to begin with you need to shorten up the headline and give it more punch. Furthermore, if you actually spent the time and effort to read the tweet in question, TaxibikeRob was more asking a question than actually trying to narc anyone. Hence the hashtag #confused and the fact that he literally (see this to learn how to properly use that word) actually asked if the rules had changed.

Yes, the rules have changed which is something I didn’t know myself. Had I seen a golfer putting with the flag in the stick I would also have been taken aback. I might have even been stronger in my objections that TaxibikeRob was about Poulter. In addition, TaxibikeRob was totally cool when several people, including Poulter, mentioned the rules had changed.

In fact, most of the so-called mocking was good natured ribbing aimed at Poulter as much as TaxibikeRob. Good on both of them for seeing the humor in the situation. Bad on you Golf Digest for making it appear as if something egregious happened.

Tom Liberman

Candace Bure and the Misleading Headline

Candace Cameron Bure

I’m not sure misleading is the proper category for the headline that suggests Candace Cameron Bure isn’t getting older but it does present an opportunity to allow my inner Grammar Police personality out in all its annoying glory. You guessed it; it’s time to learn the difference between Literally and Figuratively. Yay!

When someone says something happened in a literal fashion what they are saying is that it actually happened. While it may sound crazy what I’m telling you, it really did happen. An example might be shy, socially inept me was sitting at the bar at my favorite watering hole, Sub Zero when a quite attractive dark-haired vixen with impressive surgical enhancement cozied up a few stools down. I literally moved over and engaged her in conversation. Hard to believe, yes, but literally true.

Now, an example of figurative. Later, after a few direct messages she figuratively blew me off. That is to say, she stopped responding to my texts. If she literally blew me off that would mean that with her breath or perhaps her hair dryer, she aimed a gust of wind at me and sent me cartwheeling off to the barrel of rejected boys. The barrel of rejected boys is, by the way, also figurative.

If Bure literally stopped aging it would certainly amount to a medical miracle and the poor young woman would be subject to a hurricane, figurative of course, of lab tests.

Now, my disciples, go out into the world and use figuratively and literally properly!

Tom Liberman

Thule Air Force Base Meteor Misleading Headline

Meteor Strike Misleading HeadlineA Misleading Headline would suggest to you that the United States Air Force is covering up an enormous meteor strike that hit near the Thule Air Force base in Greenland. It’s true a meteor did explode some twenty-seven miles above the earth with a force of 2.1 kilotons. It’s also true the Air Force is not reporting about the incident. That may seem like some sort of cover up but you have to take several factors in to account.

First, the Air Force isn’t the one that reports meteor strikes, that’s the job of NASA and their Fireball and Bolide Report. That report includes this particular strike. The data indicates it was no different than dozens of other such events that occur yearly. So unremarkable was the strike that no one even bothered to write a story about it until it was reported by an Australian Astronomy organization.

Then Fox News got a hold of the article and began splashing the headline across its front page. Suddenly it was a huge story. It’s not.

Tom Liberman

Bacon Sandwich Misleading Headline

bacon sandwich finePlane passenger who wanted bacon sandwich fined $300 reads the headline from Fox News but the reality is somewhat different. Ronald James refused to buy lunch for his daughter while at the airport hoping the airline would feed her for free. The didn’t.

He refused to accept the answer given to him and insisted on speaking to the captain of the flight. When refused he harassed and physically menaced flight attendants for a good portion of the flight. These are not allegations at this point, James pleaded guilty and has been fined.

Tom Liberman

Satan or Snowflake Misleading Headline

Satan ICBMAll over my news feed today is reference to a Russian ICBM called “Satan”. Yeah, I knew about it before the headlines. It’s an extremely capable ICBM replacing an earlier generation missile called the R-36M which was actually called the Satan. The new missile is named RS-28 Sarmat by Russia and has been designated the SS-X-32 Snowflake by NATO.

I think the idea is an ICBM named Satan is a littler scarier, or has better clickbait allure, than one called Snowflake. I will not deny the missile has an operational capacity that is astounding. It can handle up to fifteen smaller (350 kiloton) nuclear weapons, ten larger MIRV payloads, or up to 24 of the new Avangard hypersonic glide vehicles that, if they work, render all missile defense systems forever obsolete.

Shame on all those headlines. The weapon system is extremely scary. Trust me to understand as much without giving it demonic names.

Tom Liberman

Jail for Baptizing Baby Misleading Headline

The headline reads: North Carolina mother jailed for baptizing 2-year-old daughter. The reality is quite different. Kendra Stocks was jailed for violating a court order that gave the baby’s father final say in legal custody decisions including those of a religious nature.

Stocks was specifically told by the judge not to have the Baptism without the father present. The two are engaged in a custody battle over the baby. She went ahead and did it anyway. Now she’s in jail.

I would hope nobody has a problem with it.

Tom

Early Morning Exercise Bad for You Misleading Headline

Exercise UnhealthyHow Waking Up Early in the morning could be Counterproductive blares the misleading headline from PopSugar. Yeah, well, what they mean is not getting enough sleep is unhealthy. Duh. Exercise has nothing to do with the problem.

The idea is that people get up early to exercise and this cuts into their regular sleep schedule. Exercise is almost always good for you barring extreme overworking.

So there you go. Get your sleep and exercise. You heard it here first.

Oh, and SugarPop, you win my not so weekly Misleading Headline of the Week award.

Tom Liberman

Josh Rosen Disses Alabama Misleading Headline

josh-rosenThe Headline Screams: UCLA Quarterback Josh Rosen: Raise the SAT Requirement at Alabama and See what kind of team they have.

It seems like if you use a direct quote from someone it can’t possibly be a misleading headline but that’s exactly what happened in this case. What Rosen was talking about is the terrible incongruity between being a college football player and being a student. In the majority if the article he talks about how spending last season injured was a hugely eye opening experience. He was able to spend more time taking classes than he would normally be allowed to do. He learned that many of the requirements of his economic major are not even available at the times his normally limited schedule allow.

He used the Alabama quote not to deride Alabama but to simply illustrate that it’s impossible for many of the best young football players in the nation to also excel at academics. What he said, and I think he said it effectively, is that no Division I college football team is made up of athletes who are stellar students. That if we want to limit college athletes to the best students, the quality of football will suffer.

He was saying that the job of being a college athlete largely precludes being a strong student. Both are jobs and you can’t work hard at one without the second suffering. The primary job of young college football players is to play, not to study. Their schedules are designed to make it extremely difficult to accomplish both.

Perhaps he should have used UCLA as an example rather than Alabama but I have no problem with his basic point and I hate to see him getting trashed because of a Misleading Headline.

Tom Liberman

Chess Prodigy Misleading Headline

shogi recordJapanese chess prodigy, 14, breaks 30-year winning streak record screams the headline. Yes, he is 14. Yes, he did break a winning streak record. No, it wasn’t chess. He plays chess and is reportedly good at it, but the streak was in a game called Shogi.

What’s wrong with a headline saying he broke a Shogi record? I’m a chess player and had never heard of a winning streak record so I was intrigued by the article. Nothing against Sota Fujii who is clearly a fine player of Shogi. I just wish the headline could have been more honest.

Tom Liberman

 

Stoned BMW Workers Misleading Headline

bmw-workersStoned Assembly Line Workers Cost BMW $1 Million in One Day, Report Claims: Screams the misleading headline from TheDrive. The implication is BMW workers were high on marijuana and made some horrible mistake.

This one’s a doozy. If you read the headline and the first paragraph you’ll assume  the two BMW workers smoked a marijuana joint and then collapsed on the line causing a forty minute shutdown. This costs BMW about a million dollars.

It’s a good thing your trusty sniffer out of misleading headlines, that’s me, is on the case!

In the story we find out that one of the workers was way, way over the legal limit for alcohol and the other was flying on amphetamines. But, heck, let’s blame marijuana! Because it’s reported, but not confirmed, they smoked a joint before heading onto the line. Marijuana is an easy target. Mission accomplished Aaron Brown, you win for the most misleading headline. I sometimes let the author off the hook because the headline is generally written by someone else but Brown is an accomplice in the crime this time. The lead of his story is the marijuana use and, oh, by the way I’ll mention later, they were drunk as skunks and sailing on Crystal Meth.

This sort of thing is journalism at its worst. It’s designed specifically to be consumed by the anti-marijuana people of this world so they can pass it along in Facebook to everyone they know, that’s how I came across the story.

Always read the full story, my friends. Or come to me, because I do!

Tom Liberman

 

Jordan Spieth – Tiger Woods Misleading Headline

spieth-woodsThis one is a doozy! Jordan Spieth tees off on Tiger Woods in Epic Shade Throwing reads the completely false and malicious headline from Sportsnaught and Vincent Frank.

Clickbait at its absolute worst. Not only does the headline make it appear as if Spieth said something nasty about Tiger Woods but the article pretty much matches the headline. It talks about how Spieth was throwing a “whole heck of a lot of shade.”

Give me a break. Spieth pointed out his game is not based on hitting the ball long but on accurate approach shots and strong putting. Thus the methods used at the Masters to lengthen the golf course for Woods and other long hitters wouldn’t be effective against Spieth.

It was not shade. It was not even directed at Woods. It was simply a comment on his style of play.

Congratulations Sportsnaught and Vincent Frank, you win Misleading Headline of the Week!

Tom Liberman