“Got kitesurfing on the mind, mixed with some search & classification tech, and a dab of political ranting”

Is this headline necessary?

Posted by direwolff on December 16, 2006

Just caught this news headline on Bloomberg this morning: One in 10 Russians Say Their Special Services Killed Litvinenko. In reading the story I was wondering why 1 in 10 people saying something made it more newsworthy than what the other 9 people said. So I clicked to read the story and found the following:

The Moscow-based Levada Center asked 1,600 Russians between Dec. 8-12 who had killed Litvinenko. Some 20 percent said it was his former business partners; 15 percent said Boris Berezovsky, a billionaire businessman who fell out with President Vladimir Putin and now lives in exile in London; and 10 percent said it was Russian special services.

Some 13 percent said they didn’t know anything about the case and 26 percent termed the question “difficult to answer.”

Headlines, gotta love’em. Nevermind that 2 in 10 people thought it was Litvinenko’s business partners or that 1.5 in 10 thought that it was the billionaire businessman. Neither of those two possibilities is nearly as inflammatory as calling for it to be the Russian special services. Having said this, I don’t purport to know the answer to this question only that Bloomberg News really shouldn’t be trying to compete with such pros in this area like the New York Post (the unabashed masters of inflammatory headlines). When you add to the fact that 39% of the people actually didn’t see a simply answer to this question, then picking off the 10% as the lead for this story is really making an issue where none appears to exist…at least in this story.


One Response to “Is this headline necessary?”

  1. 1 in 10 bloggers believe that these stupid polls are a bad idea.

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