Media Uses Deceptive Headlines to Get Clicks


If you see a headline like “Why the Trump Campaign Has Biden On the Ropes,” on a news aggregation site best to check who wrote it.  If it’s a lefty outlet like Newsweek you might find that the real title is, “The Trump Campaign Believes It Has Biden On the Ropes. Here’s Why.”  And if you bother to read it, you’ll find that the real thesis is the opposite of the original headline that caught your eye.

So, either the aggregator or the publisher is trying to trick you into clicking on their black pill article.  I like to look over Real Clear Politics every day to see what’s out there.  They’re a news aggregator that is useful because they make a point of balancing articles about 50/50 between left wing and right-wing sources.  But I suspect that their readership is more heavily right leaning, probably 70/30.  So, in order to increase clicks they seem to hide the lefty content as well as they can.

But I’m a wily consumer of the news.  If they leave the name of the publisher off the article, I hover my mouse over the link and eventually it reveals the web address and I can tell who wrote it.  Since there is so much political content during an election my rule of thumb for finding meaningful content is to look for left leaning writers who have good news for me and right leaning writers who have bad news for me.  That eliminates the stuff that is just partisan flag waving on both sides.  But apparently Real Clear Politics is trying to game things by altering titles.  So now, even if I think I’ve found something interesting I have to check the whole IP address to see who it came from and what the actual title is before I click.

I guess I could just read any stuff that sounds interesting but I like to limit any support for places like the NY Times or the Washington Post to a bare minimum just on the principle that not feeding trolls is a good strategy.  But even more importantly time is a precious commodity and wasting it reading nonsense is an offense against your own life.  Especially since some of these guys at places like the Atlantic will rattle off a 5,000-word screed.  That’s 15 – 30 minutes of your life you could have used to do any number of useful and enjoyable tasks.  Hell, throwing out the garbage would still be a more constructive and satisfying employment than reading some woke hipster’s take on why Joe Biden should get your vote.

So, if you have run into this problem the appropriate strategy is look at the web address of the link and you can typically tell the publisher and the actual title of the article.  But of course, a much better strategy is to go first to Orion’s Cold Fire.  The perceptive readers who come here know that we would never try to lure you in with deceptive titles.  And the writing and analysis is always top notch.

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1 year ago

Top notch again!


[…] Media Uses Deceptive Headlines to Get Clicks […]

War Pig
War Pig
1 year ago

As Samuel Clemens noted: “The heaven-born mission of journalism is to disseminate truth; to eradicate error; to educate, refine, and elevate the tone of public morals and manners, and make all men more gentle, more virtuous, more charitable, and in all ways better, and holier, and happier…”

However, this too often happens, according to Clemens; “While he was writing the first word, the middle, dotting his i’s, crossing his t’s, and punching his period, he knew he was concocting a sentence that was saturated with infamy and reeking with falsehood.”