Online news sites are taking peek-a-boo journalism to a whole new level.
Misleading headlines sell. Back in the day of print newspapers (I guess I can say that now) editors would put sensationalist headlines on newspapers because they new it would sell newspapers. The New York Daily News was the king of this sort of thing, often using the entire front page to display a single headline. If you wanted to read the story, you'd have to buy the paper.
It was a method of "baiting" people and it was remarkably effective.
The Internet has taken this to a whole new level, of course.
Online websites like Fox, MSNBC, CNN, Slate, and even the Daily Kos or the Huffington Post, have resorted to these sort of Peek-A-Boo headlines to get you to click on the underlying article. Many advertisers pay on a per-click basis, and if your site is not generating "hits", no one will advertise on it.
Let's face it, no one is going to click on an article with a boring title. "Economy doing OK" generates zero hits, while "Experts predict problems, despite recovering economy" will generate millions of hits. The more enticing you can make the headline, the more likely people will click on the article.
Consider this headline, recently on MSNBC: Nearly unplugged, coma patient now speaking, walking. "Oh my God!" You might literally say, "they almost killed a guy by taking him off life support! The right-to-life people are right!" But that would be an emotional reaction to the story.
The reality was, of course, the kid in question was being treated for a major brain injury, and removing him from life support was discussed - as a possible option down the road - if the treatments were not successful.
But let's face it, a headline of "Man recovers from auto accident, family advised of end-of-life issues as part of routine discussion in major brain injury cases" doesn't generate a lot of clicks and moreover, is just too long. "They almost pulled the plug on me!" is a more compelling headline, and anyone reading this who works for the New York Daily News is welcome to use it.