These folks messed up.
The way that the media words certain things can make all the difference when it comes to the way that a story will be read. Considering that many people glance at headlines without reading the entire story, the way that headlines are worded is especially important.
This recent example of biased wording shows how sometimes the media paints a different picture from what really happened.
The Roots of the Problem
The tweet that started this particular discussion of the media comes from CBS news.
Accompanied by an image of a man in front of a house, the tweet reads, “Ex-con skips job interview, takes shirt off his back to save car crash victim.”
People quickly noticed that the way the headline was worded was particularly misleading, focusing on the wrong aspects of the story.
Called By Name
Twitter user steenfox retweeted the story and pointed out what CBS was missing: humanizing the man who had risked his own life for a stranger.
She wrote, “Imagine pulling someone from a fiery crash risking your own life & being called ‘ex-con.’ His name is Aaron Tucker.” The user then went off on CBS. When someone replied, “Reporters go for a story that will catch a persons eye. They don’t care who it is, they just want you attention,” she responded, “#WellActually, reporters have nothing to do with headlines that are created to garner clicks.”
She went on to write, “Black folks are easy to clickbait. #They know that. And they benefit from the traffic & high engagement rate… They troll us into clicking, then we argue in their mentions for 24 hrs. Meanwhile…” And added a picture of Kevin Hart laughing with the subtitle, “Rich white guy laugh.”
They she added a screencap of the headline on CBS’s website, which reads, “Man skips job interview, jumps off bus to rescue car crash victim,” adding, “The actual headline said nothing about an ex-con. We wouldn’t be talking about it rn either.”