What’s in a Headline:

Sometimes I wonder just what goes in to creating a headline. Analyse exactly what the words of a headline say, and you may be left incredulous. Are they an accurate reflection of what is going on. Are they an accurate reflection of the article that follows, or are they just devices to attempt to capture the attention of the reader, with accuracy, consistency and other factors being irrelevant.Read on:

$NZ gains after Spain retains rating from Sky News (October 18). Yes Spain and New Zealand are closely linked, major trading partners with strong economic ties. However, the intrepid reporters from Sky missed some other important effects from the news from Spain: Former priest arrested over child sex allegationsNew planet discovered in Earth’s backyard and Workers find $320k stashed under house. None of these would have happened if Spain was downgraded. Most important in the cause and effect chain is the latter headline. The $320k found, is presumably going to the Spanish Treasury, reducing pressure on the need for a bailout from the EU.

Armstrong leaves Livestrong to spare negativity: news.com.au (October 18) – really is he stepping down to spare negativity, or because he’s been outed for doping and drug use.

Even the FT is not immune. Pandit’s departure restores air of calamity. What exactly is an air of calamity. Should the accompanying article read: “All’s well at Citi. Now that Pandit is gone, the status quo has been restored. The bank is expecting more departures, which will further reinforce the prevailing air of calamity. Any thoughts of calm can now be categorically dismissed. Happy days…”

Euro Zone Wants to Limit Spain Bailout Cost. One of those Doh moments from the WSJ. Would the Euro Zone ever not want to limit Spain’s bailout cost. It’s a bit like when politicians say “create more jobs”, “eliminate poverty”, or “improve healthcare”. All very noble, but somewhat tautological, and without a plan somewhat empty.

Dollar rallies ahead of China GDP data in the SMH. Well, it may such that be the expectation of a good (or bad) Chinese GDP number does drive the AUD, but is cause and effect being unnecessarily mixed up or linked. The headline could have read Dollar falls ahead of China GDP data or Dollar flat ahead of china GDP data. Is this a spurious or real linkage. From the article itself: “The Australian dollar rallied overnight, as investors become increasingly confident about prospects in Spain, and ahead of crucial Chinese data….” So is it China, Spain or something else that is driving the dollar? Does the headline accurately reflect the content in the underlying article.

Just a few examples from just one day.



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