Headline whoring is annoying

Here’s how the Huffington Post is currently headlining an extremely pathetic attention-lusting piece regarding Condoleezza Rice’s soon to be released memoir.

screen grab from huff post

The problem is that when you open the link and read the article, you realize that it says nothing about Bush per se having a race problem, as the headline leads you to believe. (Or well, he might have or have had one…but that’s another story for another day.) The story here goes on to say that upon absorbing the enormity of what was going on in New Orleans in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, “Rice called the President. ‘Mr. President, I’m coming back. I don’t know how much I can do, but we clearly have a race problem,’ [she] said.”

Condoleezza Rice did not say, as the huff post’s misrepresenting editors would like you to think, that Bush had issues with black people. She said, instead, that “we have a race problem” – meaning his administration or New Orleans or the country at large had to deal with the fact that Katrina was disproportionately devastating blacks. Basically, she was making a demographic point, and a rather obvious one at that.

Of course I understand that the huff post isn’t into news or investigative journalism (and that’s okay). It’s a click-whore site. And I’ll admit, they got me; I clicked on the link. I’ll too admit that I understand that click-lusting is the m.o. of internet these days. The problem is that it creates sketchy incentives for an organization ostensibly concerned with facts or whatever.

It’s hard. On the one hand, I’ll grant them a certain leeway in that pragmatism and economics demand that they behave this way. They do need to stay in business. But on the other hand, it disingenuous. And annoying.

Not to mention disappointing. Not in this case, but in many other cases I have been all excited to get past a link that says something like “X hammered Y” only to realize after reading the article that X actually calmly wondered why Y behaved the way he did.

In no way is this post a defense of Rice or Bush, two humans I generally don’t like.

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