I’m sure you’ve all heard of the term “yellow journalism” before and for most people it brings an image of bad reporting.
One thing any journalist should never want to be accused of is yellow journalism. It is an attempt to sensationalize a story with little or no facts being presented and those facts that are presented, are exaggerated to the point of mostly fiction. Usually, even the headline of the story will be eye-catching.
The original purpose of this technique was to sell newspapers. Now it’s simply used as online click-bait. Recall the headline I posted yesterday from The Nation: Atheists Showing their Sexist Side. This is a great example of a click-bait headline because what’s the readers first impulse? It’s to read below the headline.
I won’t go into just how wrong the story below the headline is, I discussed that a little bit yesterday and wanted to give an example. We should all be looking out for headlines like this one in everyday journalism and as skeptics we should be wary.