The New York Times isn’t the only news outlet that can’t write an accurate headline these days.
Morningly blog posts dedicated to recapping last night’s late night rank among my least favorite practices in passionate pursuit of page views. Ostensibly reputable websites should report on things that actually happen in the real world, not simply parrot what a few comedians had to say about it the night before.
Listen, I understand the motivation: pageviews. But is it really too much to ask that the pointless headlines generated in this way at least try and be accurate?
Here’s how Salon recapped The Late Show with Stephen Colbert from Monday night:
Now, to be fair, those words did technically come out of Stephen Colbert’s mouth on Monday night. The problem? They came out of Lindsey Graham’s first. Which anyone who actually watched the Late Show would have known:
If you still don’t believe me — or you just to hear what Stephen actually had to say — you are welcome to start the clip at 3:38.
Admittedly, the body of the Salon article clearly states just who originally said the quote in question. But that’s still no excuse for spreading blatant misinformation in the headline. Hashtag headlines matter. After all, a 2014 study by the American Press Institute found that only “41 percent of Americans report that they watched, read, or heard any in-depth news stories, beyond the headlines”, meaning that a full 59% of us, well:
*Had to get a “That’s what she said” into the headline of an article that boils down to “That’s actually what HE said.”