A glance at the headlines

By George Smith

It is a worldwide truism that many people interested in news simply read or glance at the headlines and then decide what to read.

That makes perfect common sense and explains why women will stop and carefully read headlines (and advance to the article) that proclaim something like “Brad Pitt gets better with age” or “George Clooney poses nude again?”

Men, for the most part, are more elementary and earthy and will stop and peruse almost any headline that just might be titillating, to wit: “(Some unknown ‘celebrity’) has wardrobe malfunction” or “Upside-down bikini fad pushing the limits of casual wear.”

As a former newspaper editor, I love headlines, all kinds of headlines, from the mundane to the intellectually stimulating to the drop-down-on-the-floor hilarious.  All types are out there daily; all you have to do is peruse the newspapers, magazines and electronic news outlets.

Headlines that “demand” my attention…and should demand yours also.

“Pot grower crushed to death by policeman driving a bulldozer”  There are some actions in life that are right, partially right, partially wrong and double-dog dead wrong. There is no “right” in that headline.

“8-year-old homeless refugee becomes chess champion” Who would not read this story? Only folks who hate chess, the homeless and refugees. The young boy is not just a champion, but the overall champion of New York in the 6-9-year-old age group. And he has been playing the game for less than a year. His goal: To be the youngest chessmaster in history. (Did I mention he was a homeless refugee?)

“Gun in pocket of substitute teacher discharges in first grade classroom, one injured.” There is nothing about this headline that is right. Arming teaches is an idea akin to giving diabetics with no self control a washtub full of Little Debbie snacks.

“A black man was handcuffed while moving into his own house” Racism is alive and well in America, thanks to Neanderthal thinking, subtle hints for key leaders that abusing people who are different or don’t believe as you do is A-OK. The tiny-minded minions that follow racist tendencies preached by so-called leaders are to be scorned. If you see nothing wrong with this headline, God help you.

“DACA recipient working as a flight attendant detained by ICE”  This story is about a woman who had been in this country since she was three. Her DACA status was in effect; she is married to a U.S. citizen and worked for Mesa Airlines. She was refused re-entry to the United States after a flight to Mexico. She has never been in trouble, works hard and pays taxes. Find something “right” about this situation about this situation and I will buy you a meal at the Blue Frog.

Chick-Fil-A on the hot seat after ‘anti-LGBTQ policies’  People deserve to be treated as they want to be treated. Many people love the low-maintenance food at this restaurant chain; many of those people will not be having that signature sandwich with the white pressure-cooked chicken chunk and the single pickle. Count me among that number; there are consequences for non-inclusion and outright hatred of lifestyles, religions and other human likes and dislikes.

Six connected headlines: 1. “Trump economists agree GOP tax cuts failing to spark growth; 2. “Famers facing worst economic crisis is 30 years”; 3. “Big oil spending millions lobby to block climate change policies”; 4. “U.S. posts largest-ever monthly budget deficit; 5. “Trump’s budget raises record debt by $1 trillion”; and 6. Two ‘new’ Air Force One planes costing billions more than projected.

Some headlines do not need lengthy explanations, but just stand on their own merit as fact-based. The country is not in good shape; Donald Trump is no genius businessman who wields the magic touch of a political wizard; anyone who follows him blindly and refuses to see what exists behind the ‘curtain” will, one day, be dragged down with this snake-oil salesman and master manipulator.

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