This week’s misleading headline isn’t particularly egregious in nature and anyone with a modicum of sense knew that the headline was steering people in the wrong direction even before clicking the story. Still, I picked it today because it is a classic example of someone writing a misleading headline to attract viewers when I think a more accurate headline would have done the job better.
1 Man Loses $10 Billion in Las Vegas screams the headline on the Yahoo news scroll although the article comes from the habitual headline abuser Motley Fool. It’s pretty easy to determine that no one could actually lose $10 billion gambling and the story must refer to investment losses. That’s the case. Sheldon Adelson is a casino owner who has attracted my ire in the past had a bad year money wise. He is leading the efforts to make sure offshore gambling stays illegal in the United States. It’s Crony Capitalism at its worst but that’s not my story today.
What I find most interesting about this headline is the choice to go with something misleading rather than the truth. Adelson is a divisive character who has spent heavily in various elections earning the ire of one party and the praise of the other. This alone makes his name a marketable headline. I think writing an accurate headline, Adelson loses $10 Billion or something of that ilk would have attracted more clicks than the misleading headline.
The misleading headline attempts to lure us in with a story of some ultra-rich person who lost the stated amount at the gambling tables. I suppose that is an interesting premise. What I think happened here is that the headline writer for Motley Fool, so accustomed to writing headlines that skirt or completely hide from the truth, simply fell back on old habits without thinking things completely through.
Anyway, it’s certainly not the worst misleading headline I’ve ever pointed out but I thought it was instructive nevertheless Why lie when the truth is more enticing? This is what happens when you practice bad habits. You risk making them part of your normal life and that’s not good.
Have a great Holiday Season and if you’ve got friends who love to read please think about spending $2.99 on one of my books. I think you’ll get real value for the price!
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
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