Judging news stories by their headlines

We are told not to judge a book by its cover. (Don’t confuse this adage to showbiz star Melanie Marquez’s appeal to the people not to judge her Brother Joey as he is not a book.)

The same may be said of news stories: Dont’ judge a story by its headline. True, for headlines are meant to attract attention. If you don’t read the story, at least the lead paragraphs, chances are you’ll be misled and your claims based on the headlines alone may be unfounded.

But for people on the go, reading the entire stories is a tormentous chore. Others are contented into thinking that the contents are predictable so they need not be read at all. Just look at the headlines of the Philstar.com today and see how Doggone Dong reacts to the stories based on those:

  1. US worried over rights, killings.” Really? Just now? How about the killings that took place at least during the Aquino regime via the “low intensity conflict” or the “Filipino vs. Filipino” policy of which the US is believed to be an architect?
  2. Senate, House hit cha-cha deadlock.” And what happens then? Status quo. The elite reigns after all.
  3. Cop nabbed for Palawan journalist slay.” A cop arresting a fellow cop? Hmmm. Let’s pray hard that if the cop was the assassin he would be brought to justice. Hope against hope.
  4. Senators want details of the new RP-US deal.” And what do they do with the details? Another case against a top official the Opposition Senators want removed from office.
  5. Erap signed ‘own warrant’, prosecutor says.” Poor Erap he is being made to look more like a fool.
  6. School year off to a rainy start.” So what? Rain or shine, kids are subjected to unfriendly teaching environments, particularly in most public schools.
  7. RP expects peace deal with MILF before Ramadan.” A classic example of quick-fix solutions to complex problems.
  8. Palace press corps elects new officers.” So what’s news here? If the new officers are independent and can cast doubts and criticisms on Arroyo at will, then, that’s news.
  9. Palace: No politics in FPJ national artist award.” Susan: No politics in my refusal to receive the award for Ronnie.
  10. GMA wants local execs to lead jatropha tree-planting.” Poor local execs; they are not only coerced to play chacha but also to plant jatropha.
  11. P1-T budget to be presented before bicam committee.” But I thought Senate only gives very low budget to Departments not cooperating with them in exposing Arroyo’s culpability (e.g., P1 to PCGG and zero amount for DAR after 2008).
  12. GMA seeks help of councilors for cha-cha to move forward.” Is the mayors’ support not enough?
  13. Less corruption under parliamentary system, ad-com says.” Let Arroyo say this and I may be convinced.
  14. Lawmaker urges PCGG exec to resign for “waltzing” with Imelda.” Another dance craze, after chacha.
  15. NPO defends bidding process.” Who cares, for crying out loud?
  16. Peso fall, a temporary setback, GMA says.” No, the peso strength in the past months is just a temporary gain.
  17. JDV optimistic RP can recover frozen $80-M Japanese aid.” If he lost the chacha this year, it would be election time again next year.
  18. Foreign miners hopeful RP to keep pledge to open up industry.” These miners have not read the newspapers lately. They don’t know Arroyo already refused the recommendation to repeal, much less amend, the Mining Act of 1995.
  19. Palace to Gringo: Get down from pedestal.” Gringo to Arroyo: Get out of the palace.
  20. Zubiri still with Lakas.” Really? Never thought Diana Zubiri has joined the Lakas party?
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