Saturday, March 22, 2008

The headline gap: “crumble” or “solid and widespread support” So, which is it?

It’s well known that headlines sell papers. And sometimes the reader’s eye is a more attractive target for the headline editor than remaining true to the content of the journalists’ story.

That appears to be the case with the article titled “The house that Jack built is beginning to crumble”. Are camps forming in the party? Are candidates stepping down? Are staff being let go? Er, no. None of those things. Not even close. (Um, you might be thinking of someone else).

In fact, the gulf between the headline and the story widen with lines like:

“Despite the polls, Mr. Layton enjoys solid and widespread support within the party and his caucus.”

Doesn’t sound very crumbly. How about this one:

“Lesser known, however, is his commitment to consulting every corner of the party's grassroots. From provincial leaders, to candidates, to political leaders on campus, Mr. Layton spends virtually every free moment canvassing NDP supporters. Further, he scolds his Ottawa staff if they have not shown similar zeal.”

Nope. That looks like a tight ship. But what about the critique from Allan Blakeney? What Mr. Blakeney says more advice than crumbling, and any part of it that could be otherwise contorted is tempered by:

“Former Saskatchewan NDP premier Allan Blakeney speaks highly of Mr. Layton's performance as leader.”

Well? What is crumbling then? Nothing it would seem.

Oh, and there’s also a factual hiccup of saying poll numbers for the NDP are “consistently lower than the 17.5-per-cent support in 2006 in the last federal election” when the most recent Angus Reid poll says 18 and the last Nanos poll said 19.


Connoisseurs of the perennial “the NDP is doomed” story will be disappointed to recognize this as a particularly weak impostor. Seems you can’t judge a story by its headline.

What a Globe we live in.


janfromthebruce said...

The article in the Globe is about fueling misinformation. Makes one wonder if they - the rich and powerful and compfy - are concerned that the libs are so weak that the NDP will be a real contender in the upcoming election. So concerned that they need to put out this rubish.

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

Artificially low expectations aren't necessarily a bad thing.

Wheatsheaf said...

The Globe and Mail decided after the last election that the NDP was going nowhere and that they would not print anything positive about the party. Bill Curry has always taken that view to heart.

HammertimeGP said...