Clickbait Watch #7 🖱️



A reminder

Clickbait stories are meant to generate online clicks for the sole purpose of driving more traffic and hence generate more $$$ for an online 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.


NY Times: The Dronepocalypse is here — in documentary footage, at least

News Bling’s Suggestion: The new drone footage fad- and how it’s hurting documentaries

Reason: The article is a critique of too much swooping, epic drone footage in documentaries that don’t need them.  The article begins by painting a dystopian future of drones ruling “our ordinary lives...policing our streets,” but this turns out to be a setup for the documentary footage critique. It’s a valid critique, but the title and beginning of the article are hyperbolic. It is not an article about a “dronepocalypse” in any world-ending sense, nor does it even show documentaries are being destroyed (they’re just subject to a possibly distasteful fad). The title does not accurately describe the information in the article – and so, even if it is tongue-in-cheek, it still feels like click bait.


Fox News: Vintage Biden clip resurfaces of him massaging law school success (link title)

News Bling’s Suggestion: Old Biden clip shows him boasting about law school success

Reason:  This link title on the Fox News homepage seems intentionally misleading. The line about “massaging law school success” feels like the beginning of a sexual misconduct story, which people are primed for, especially after the series of stories on Biden’s physical behavior towards women. But this is a story about boasting, not a physical massage. Although massaging has a figurative definition too (so it’s not technically wrong), its more common physical definition makes its inclusion feel manipulative.




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