Sunday, September 18, 2011

BREAKING: There are People That Write About Rick Perry!!

Politico needs some new headline writers. 

Their piece this morning that seemingly targets Rick Perry's skeletons is titled "Old Texas Story Lines Resurface as Perry Goes National."  The caption of the photo of Perry that is with the article says, "Old issues have taken at least some of the bloom off of Rick Perry's candidacy."

So...what do you expect might be in an article with that title and caption?  Maybe I'm too literal, but I was expecting an article about, oh, say, old Rick Perry story lines in Texas.

Instead, the article isn't really about Perry so much as it is about the people that write about Perry.  After opening with an introduction to some guy that's written a book about Perry, the article goes on to explain how much in demand said author and others like him are now that everyone wants to know about Perry.

The only thing I could find about "old story lines" is a brief mention (two sentences) of the crony capitalism charge hurled at Perry.  From there the article explains how Perry's entrance into the race has been a hit-a-palooza boon to the Texas Tribune site:

This exposure translated directly into dollars for the Tribune. Smith said he was able to raise $300,000 since Perry announced, expressly for covering Perry.

The Tribune’s all-Perry, all-the-time coverage has helped the website achieve record numbers - more than 660,000 unique visits in August, according to its CEO and editor-in-chief, Evan Smith.

“This is the only time in my 45 years on this earth that my prayers have been answered,” Smith said. “I have dropped to my knees before bed every night and prayed that this man would run for president.”

Presumably, Smith has been praying for Perry's entrance into the race because it's been such a financial boon to his website, not because he's all that into Perry.

And how sad for him that "this is the only time" in his 45 years that his "prayers have been answered."

For me, my prayers are answered every day when I wake up that I have one more day.  Just sayin'.

For their part, Politico doesn't link to The Texas Tribune site; presumably they've gotten enough hits on their Perry coverage without any linkage from Politico even though Politico does link to the Dallas Morning News, The Houston Chronicle, and the New York Times, among others.  For their part, The Texas Tribune describes themselves:

The Texas Tribune is a nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization that promotes civic engagement and discourse on public policy, politics, government, and other matters of statewide concern. Our vision is to serve the journalism community as a source of innovation and to build the next great public media brand in the United States.

The entirety of the Politico article, however, is about the people that write about Perry rather than any "old story lines" that are "taking the bloom" off Perry's candidacy.  It's a misleading headline at best, intended to have you think that there are scurrilous story lines in Perry's past that should make supporters second guess his viability as a strong candidate.

Is it a big deal?  Not really.  It just goes to show the Politico bias, though.  And we already knew that.  And if you aren't convinced about Perry's tarnished candidacy by their headline, buried near the end of the article is "a rumor" about Perry's sexual orientation (linked back to...of course, Politico).

How about just some honest reporting, Politico?  If you want to write about the people that write about Perry that's fine.  Interesting, even.  But don't attempt to mislead with an inflammatory headline and unsubstantiated rumors.

We get enough of that from the main stream media.

Update:  Politico changed their headline.  It now reads:  "As Rick Perry Goes National, So Do Tales From Texas." 

Is that better?   Or even different?

1 comment:

Tina said...

Interesting post, Pat. Have you noticed that a lot of the media are doing this same thing: using headlines that mislead about the article's content? Yahoo seems to really have a spate of it going. It is annoying!