Media Headlines and Exaggeration - Why?

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Rhonindk, Dec 17, 2018.

  1. Rhonindk macrumors 68040


    What is it with mainline media these days?
    Here in Cali we are into our Winter storm season and enjoying (at least here in SoCal) rain we get so little of.
    Storms in and I was at the beach this morning watching some of the better surfers out enjoying the larger than normal swells.

    From the Washington Post:

    Now some spots in Northern Cali will get 21 footers with 50 feet at the top end. That is the exception.
    Just for once why can't they report accurately?

    This is a more accurate set of headlines.
    From WFLA

    From LA Times

    Anyway ... some talented folk out there this morn. Maybe a few pushing the edge a bit.
    Now back to work. ;)

    btw - in my area they are topping out around 12'
  2. obeygiant macrumors 68040


    Jan 14, 2002
    totally cool
  3. tobefirst macrumors 68040


    Jan 24, 2005
    St. Louis, MO
    Thank you for not saying "over exaggeration."
  4. Rhonindk thread starter macrumors 68040


    Didn't take any that morning .... will grab a few in a couple of days and put them up ...
    from a bit back ...
  5. obeygiant macrumors 68040


    Jan 14, 2002
    totally cool
    Thanks for that actually. It's cold here and will continue to be for the next 5 months.

    Is that near Ventura?
  6. Rhonindk thread starter macrumors 68040


    Yup. Across from the marina.
  7. chown33 macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    Sailing beyond the sunset
    Please point to which part of the headline you posted you think is an exaggeration.

    Here's the headline you gave:

    ‘Stay well back ... or risk certain death’: Giant waves slam California coast

    The quotes suggest someone else being quoted. Reading the article, we see it is a quote, specifically of the NWS in SF Bay on Twitter. The headline elided a few words, but indicated the elision with ..., so I don't see that part of the headline as an exaggeration.

    The remainder is "Giant waves slam California coast". The adjective "giant" is arguably a subjective term, but again, reading the article, forecasts are for waves up to 50 feet, which I think qualifies as "giant", considering their widespread forecast area.

    The Bay Area forecast specifically noted "25-40 foot range could be common" on Monday, which was the date of the article. Those seem unusually high to me for that area. As a headline writer, "Unusually high" is a lot longer than "Giant", so I'd probably go with the latter.

    Overall, the headline doesn't strike me as exaggerated, at least no more than an average headline, given the content of the article.
  8. Rhonindk thread starter macrumors 68040


    Certain Death - tell that to the surfers out there. tell that to the tourists, the curious. And all those deaths. Like ... none. Still waiting for the idiot - usually one.
    Locally our pier was busted and shut down but the waves have riders. Lots of riders.
    That is part of the problem, it has become the "average headline" in order to garner clicks. Mainline media has become the National Enquirer in effect. The two followup headlines are more in tune. Inform, make sure people know, don't exaggerate, over-emphasize, or spin in an effort to garner attention with incorrect or deliberate inflammatory information.
  9. chown33 macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    Sailing beyond the sunset
    You've missed my point.

    The headline contained a quote. That quote said "certain death". The quote (which was from the National Weather Service's SF Bay twitter acct) may well have been an exaggeration. The headline itself was accurate: it quoted the statement accurately, modulo the elision. The headline was not exaggerated, even if the quoted claim in the headline was.

    Also, "risk certain death" differs from "certain death". The word "risk" is a kind of weasel word that mitigates or contradicts the thing it modifies. It's oxymoronic.

    If you want to argue that the NWS was exaggerating in order to get clicks, that's a separate argument, and has nothing to do with media headlines. Unless of course the media quotes the NWS in a headline. In which case, the headline is accurate, not an exaggeration.

    If the NWS made an intentionally exaggerated twitter post in order to catch people's attention, well, that seems like their decision to make. Whether it's successful is again a separate question. It may erode their credibility in the long run (the Boy Crying Wolf effect), or since we're discussing it right now, it may well have served its purpose.

    Or you could make an argument that the NWS didn't post that statement to their twitter account, in which case I'd focus on the falsity of the headline and the erroneous quote in the article, rather than its exaggeration.
  10. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    How do you risk certain death, anyway? Its either "certain death" or a "risk of death" - if it is a risk, it is not a certainty.
  11. Rhonindk thread starter macrumors 68040



    Quite true. If that was that intent it was poorly done.
    Still, take a look at the headlines (quasi-fictitious) done in the same vein.

    Headline 1: Asteroid to Impact Earth!!!!!
    Article: Well, it will come close even though it is going to miss.

    Headline 2: Asteroid to pass close to Earth on Friday
    Article: Here is how we found it and just how close it is coming.

    I'll open Headline 1 if it is a major media or all over. The article will rapidly turn me off as the headline started with a lie. Going forward I will treat future sensational headlines especially from that media source as suspect.
    I'll open and read Headline 2 if it is a subject that interests me. That source will gain favor with me.

    Sensationalism has its place. That was not it.

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