Two Unethical Headlines…

That’s a faked headline. No such op-ed ever ran in the Times, but it nearly got me. I saw it on several conservative sites, some quite reliable, but something in my softly pinging ethics alarms warned me that I should check it out before referring to it anywhere. Sure enough: “No such article exists. A fabricated headline about bullying was made to look like it came from an opinion piece by the outlet, a spokesperson with The New York Times confirmed.” It should be plain why any regular reader of the Times would assume that headline above was real. It is no more ridiculous than any number of Times op-ed headlines. A few years ago, one Times “expert” advocated allowing children—like sixth graders—to vote. A headline from 2021 read, “Yes, kink belongs at Pride. And I want my kids to see it.” Another: “Want to Get Rid of Trump? Only Fox News Can Do It.” Here’s one: “Trump’s Nacissiam Could Cost Us Our Lives.”

Add to the many examples of Times punditry bordering on lunacy the rampant Wuhan virus phobia and hysteria promoted by the Times itself (among others), and the widespread “ends justify the means” embrace the political Left has favored of late. In this context, a Times column advocating the position that we have to bully kids in order to save them is completely plausible.

Now this headline is real:

That’s a deceptive and deceitful headline, and typical of mainstream media’s reporting on the release of Trump’s tax returns. It deliberately implies misconduct where there is none. “Aggressively” doesn’t belong in a news headline: it’s a characterization. Taxpayers are allowed deductions, and if claimed deductions are legal, “aggressively” means nothing. The headline, and the story, should point out that Trump deducted business losses, that the tax code permits this, and that since these deductions were allowed by the IRS, there is no news story after all.

How do the two headlines relate to each other? Simply this: the lack of professionalism, objectivity and competence exhibited daily by the mainstream media, as demonstrated by the LA Times headline, makes reader acceptance of the fake headline reasonable. We can’t trust journalists to be fair, informative, or rational.


4 thoughts on “Two Unethical Headlines…

  1. Okay, guilty confession, I saw those in posted in Powerline Blog’s Week in Pictures post (which I gleefully await every Saturday…). I did assume the first was a real headline, because it certainly seems to conform to reality. Maybe there’s no official guidance to bully kids that are not toeing the party line, but it seems that we keep coming across news of teachers that are themselves bullies to the students who are not sufficiently woke or obedient. They’d never discipline the out of control kids, but that shy, timid girl who doesn’t want to wear a mask…

  2. My first thought was that the LA Times headline would be reasonable if the accompanying article were an editorial arguing that deductions which are now legal ought not to be. But after a moment’s thought, I realize even that would suggest that the problem is Trump-specific rather than being a general indictment of a particular part of the tax code. Yeah, it isn’t in the same area code as responsible journalism.

  3. If I recall correctly one of Joe Biden’s first acts as President was to sign legislation that repealed the Trump change in the tax code that LIMITED how much an individual could deduct for state and local income and property taxes. People in high tax states screamed when Trump pushed that legislation through. This was one of those loopholes available to well to do (but not super-rich) homeowners in Blue states took great advantage. The federal tax liability many of those people was significant due to its elimination.

    The very people who politically demand that others pay their fair share of taxes fail the test of fairness when a person in Florida with no state income tax has to pay more in federal taxes to offset the tax receipt losses from high tax states like New York and California. So, when the LA Times writes that headline it should look to its own state’s residents and ask them why they use the deductibility of their state’s taxes to reduce their federal tax burden.

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