Clickbait Watch #2 🖱️

Julio Cortez / AP Photo

Julio Cortez / AP Photo

New section!

We're launching a new weekly section called "Clickbait Watch". Clickbait stories are are meant to generate online clicks for the purpose of driving more traffic and hence generate more $$$ for the publisher. This often means loud, extreme language used in the titles of stories. I guess not many people click on calm titles. 🤷

So what?

Clickbait leads to a rise in the volume and anxiety of your online news experience, or even misleading reporting. Each week we'll look at the most egregious clickbait titles, and after analyzing them, give them a less extreme title based on the actual information in the article.


CNN: Congress wants to reveal Trump's biggest secret

News Bling’s suggestion: Congress Wants Trump’s Tax Records

Reason: The title suggests that Congress is on the verge of revealing something terrible about Trump (the word “secret” in the political realm is usually a bad thing, and “biggest secret” is usually very bad). In reality, they want to receive his tax records from the past six years. The scale and and word choice of the title is misleading. Tax records are documents he shared with the government already, and, although it is the norm to share them with Congress, there is no evidence of anything shocking in them at the moment.


Fox News:  Piscopo: 'SNL' handing Trump 2020 election

News Bling’s suggestion: Joe Piscopo comments on SNL recently

Reason: Joe Piscopo, the former SNL star, says that the show is unintentionally giving Trump a win in the next election. It's a strong opinion. But when you read the article, it is mostly him commenting on the sketches he’s liked recently. Only in the second-to-last paragraph does he make the headline's statement, hardly backing it up with any evidence, other than the fact that he thinks they are being one-sided. The title is too strong for what the article actually offers.

How'd we do?

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