Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Media Launches An Assault And Then Orders A Retreat

Each morning I log in to Yahoo, check my email and scan the headlines, maybe check some sports scores. This morning one headline jumped out at me. Here's a screen shot of the Yahoo headlines page of local stories. I've scrolled down so that the headline in question is at the top:

House GOP launches assault on health care

Yike. "Assault on health care"? Casual readers might assume that Republicans want to close hospitals and pharmacies and put their family doctors out of business. Adding the word "law" on the end is the very least they could have done to make the headline less invidious. Of course, they also could have refrained from using the word "assault" -- which sounds so . . . uncivil of those mean Republicans.

Clicking into the article, I notice that it is a CNN piece by Tom Cohen. So it wasn't something the local tv station came up with, it was a distributed article by CNN. I went and googled at the time and noted dozens of websites with the same headline. I didn't take a screen shot at the time, however.

Just now I went back to that article, and you know what? The headline has been changed to something a little less inflammatory:

House GOP to vote again on health care repeal

Well, that's a little more neutral. Note this below the headlline:

UPDATED 11:48 AM EDT Jul 11, 2012

So it was just recently updated. The original url, however, still contains the "launches assault on health care" phrase, in case there is any doubt:

I also just now went back and took a screen shot of the google results for "House GOP launches assault on health care" which now returns 1,700 results.

So Google continues to roam the internet and pick up on the original headline, even as sites are being changed to reflect a more neutral phrasing than was originally used when the article was distributed.

Someone, and we have no idea who, apparently launched an assault, so to speak, in an attempt to convey Republican activity in voting to repeal Obamacare in terms that were derogatory, invidious and inflammatory. Someone, and we have no idea who, apparently realized that was a mistake and ordered a retreat. But on the internet, there really are no second chances.

You might want to sit down for this: The media is not unbiased. I know, shocking.


  1. Well one success on you was desensitizing you to the language -- "health care repeal" is still pretty inflammatory!

  2. Well, I wasn't quite specific and probably should have been, but that's why I put "a little less inflammatory" before the image and "a little more neutral" after it.

    I meant "little" in the sense that it "is still pretty inflammatory!"