ABC loses all sense of what constitutes a news headline — and news

Friday morning, ABC ran a story its anchors introduced as follows:

“This morning, a visit to a hidden gem of Upper Manhattan: Dinosaur Bar-B-Que founder and owner John Stage makes us a sandwich and talks about what makes barbecue oh so special.”

“This is guaranteed to make you want barbecue for breakfast.”

Watching the video that ensued did not make me want to consume barbecue for breakfast, or at any other time. I want my money back. [Editor’s note: Yes, I’m aware I paid only in opportunity cost.]

I’ll be honest: I don’t watch a lot of TV, and when I do, I certainly don’t watch a lot of TV of this sort. So I’m not so much here to complain about the topic — maybe it was a slow news morning, maybe it was a Friday, or maybe this is just what TV has become — but about how ABC went about titling the video online:

Dinosaur BBQ

“Dinosaur Bar-B-Que Serves Up a Chicken Sandwich” is pretty much the opposite of a headline. It’s anti-news. In a sane/accurate/descriptive world, chicken — and other assorted fowl — would be pretty much all the restaurant served up. (See generally xkcd #1211: “Birds and Dinosaurs.”)

Also, just kidding: I know I promised I wouldn’t, but I am going to complain about the topic. Last week was not a slow news week. It saw four major Supreme Court decisions, the passage of a major Senate bill, an epic filibuster in Texas, ongoing revelations in the NSA spying scandal, and much, much more — and still, one ABC affiliate somehow decided that running a glorified ad for this backyard barbecue joint was worth four minutes of airtime?

Seriously, if ABC really wanted to run a story Friday morning about chicken, I feel like there was something juicy in the Supreme Court’s decision to dismiss Perry on standing.

I can think of no more potent symbol of the decline and irrelevance — fossilization, if you will — of the television news industry than a story about dinosaurs.


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