When is a headline just a headline?
And when is a headline, in fact, an editorial comment?
A reader’s email to GetReligion about a Washington Post story published today raises that issue.
Here is the headline in question:
This ‘good Christian’ prosecutor is overlooking domestic violence charges for same-sex couples
The reader, someone I respect, asks: “Since when do neutral newspapers mock the subjects of their stories in their headlines?”
My first reaction (before clicking the link) was that, yes, the headline contained more attitude than necessary and seemed slanted against the prosecutor.
But after reading the story (which is generally a nice thing to do before forming an opinion), I’m not so certain that the Post’s title is inaccurate or mocking. I mean, the case could be made that the newspaper simply quotes the prosecutor’s own words.