“It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into”

Jonathan Swift
"The Democrats have moved to the right, and the right has moved into a mental hospital." - Bill Maher
"The city is crowded my friends are away and I'm on my own
It's too hot to handle so I gotta get up and go

It's a cruel ... cruel summer"

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Whatever You Want It To Be

A number of us here at the Panhandle Truth Squad have become personally acquainted with the heartbreak of poorly-chosen Amarillo Globe-News headlines. Okay, maybe the choice of the word "heartbreak" is over-snarked, faux-maudlin, or some other pretentious hyphenate loosely defined as "Dude. Chill."

But let's look at a page from the Neverending Story: the American press's ongoing Dead Reagan Society. The headline (striking in its originality) on page 10A of the print edition of Saturday morning's AGN is "Mourning in America" (at this writing Lexis-Nexis is recording 41 separate print uses of that particular phrase; Google News references 221 uses). A huge picture of the flag-draped casket takes up half the page. Another picture shows a dewy-eyed George W. Bush delivering a eulogy; W's eulogy is set off in a box below this picture in 12-point type.

The full headline of the story in the print version of the paper is "Mourning in America: Country that Reagan inherited was different from one he leaves." Now, with all these appeals to sentiment all over page 10A, you'd sure think that headline meant the country was a better place because of Reagan, wouldn't you? Nevermind what we at the Panhandle Truth Squad believe, you'd think the story below this headline was more unabashed Reagan-worship, wouldn't you?

Well, actually no. The Associated Press story by Connie Cass is relatively even-handed, by current standards. Here's one quote:

"Government does not solve problems, it subsidizes them," Reagan quipped. Nonetheless, the U.S. government grew during Reagan's two terms and keeps growing.

Most newspapers and web sites around the world had more neutral, if occasionally nonsensical, headlines for this same story:

"America before Reagan is far removed today"
"Reagan transformed America he inherited," and, best of all,
"For good or ill, changes wrought by the Reagan era still being felt"

This is a typical tactic from the Amarillo Globe-News. Apparently aware that most people just read the headline, AGN editors routinely ignore the content of a story and simply slap a headline onto the page in accordance with whatever they want reality to be.


AGN Publisher: les.simpson@amarillo.com
Executive Newsroom Editor: ralph.routon@amarillo.com