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From: Gerald Martin (e-mail him)
Re: Joe Guzzardi's blog: Inching Toward More Responsible Immigration Journalism
The text of the story to which Guzzardi referred may be balanced.
But the headline, which is the only part of the article many people will read, isn't. [Senate Kills Bill to Help Immigrants, By Michelle Mittelstadt, Houston Chronicle, October 24, 2007]
Since the bill was designed to assist people who have broken the law, and not "immigrants," shouldn't the headline read, at a minimum, "Senate Kills Bill to Help Illegals (or Illegal Immigrants)?"
And even that improved headline ignores the negative connotations of "kill," when that word is contrasted to "help."
Reporter Mittelstadt may not be responsible for the headline. But someone is.
Whoever wrote it isn't fair and balanced.
Martin is a former Army officer and high school teacher descended from cowboys, Texas Rangers, and railroad workers.
Joe Guzzardi comments: Interesting that Martin wrote about the headline because I noticed it too. I agree that it is awful.
Some readers may not be
aware that the reporter does not write the headlines.
I know from twenty years of personal experience as a columnist that often the headline doesn't reflect the writer's viewpoint and occasionally doesn't even clearly indicate the column's subject matter.