The way a headline or article is written can make a big difference to how an event is perceived.
Consider the recent video of a cyclist, doored by a parked car, causing him to be pushed into the path of a following taxi.
Dis was me earlier, Was really close. If I didn’t had 👀 on rd or if dat ws a Uber den dis guy would of been gone 2day pic.twitter.com/tDba7aDpdS
— Taxi (@AllLondonBoy) August 3, 2015
This has been picked up by various media outlets. Compare the headlines:
LBC had also originally run a headline of
But they since changed it to
The two headlines in the second group clearly imply that the cyclist just suddenly swerved in front of the taxi, with no mention of the dooring that caused it. A casual reader, who then didn’t read the actual article, would be left with the impression that the cyclist was the agent of their own misfortune, when nothing could be further from the truth.
At least LBC responded to criticism and changed their headline to more accurately reflect the facts. At the time of writing, ITV’s is still there.
It’s pretty lazy and irresponsible of journalists (or subeditors) to write headlines like this. So if you see headlines that follow the pattern above, do please complain to the organisation, and maybe they’ll get the message.