Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Dishonest Headline of the Year

Ex-Congressman Dan Rostenkowski (D-Ill.) died last week. The New York Times obit quickly was web-published under this headline:
Dan Rostenkowski, Congressman Touched by Scandal, Is Dead at 82
Here's a screen shot:

This is nonsense. Rosty wasn't "touched" by "scandal," he plead guilty to two counts of mail fraud and spent 15 months in prison (plus paid a $15,000 fine). I don't think it a coincidence that the Times tried to soft-pedal Democrat corruption--I doubt it would tread so lightly upon the death of a convicted Republican politician. And, as I have said, "Treating similarly situated persons differently is the very definition of bias."

Newspaper obits of notable persons often are written ahead of time. So the Times likely had this whitewash ready for years. Yet, within a few hours after publication, the newspaper changed its headline to the more accurate (if less informative):
Dan Rostenkowski, Lawmaker, Is Dead at 82

source: August 11th New York Times

You still can see a version of the former headline as "meta content" in the RSS feed.

Good thing I saved a screen shot. Shame on the Times for its lack of objectivity. And shame on the "Old Gray Lady" for compounding its bias by not admitting to the correction.

(via reader Bob in LA)

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