It’s time to lay the lumber to a trend that is spreading misinformation and slant through too many uncritical minds: the headlie. As far as I’m aware, I might be the first to use the term.

A headlie is a headline that lies. Someone creates a link to an article, or titles the article, and it’s untrue or grossly misleading. I read one today about a political figure, indicating an article that would say he’d said very ignorant things about women’s bodies. While there is no shortage of ignorance on that topic, that doesn’t mean it’s honest or fair to tar anyone with that brush when it isn’t merited. Well, I read the article, and sure enough: the person was accusing his political opponents of attempting to prey on reactions they supposedly perceived. The guy might be wrong, even an ass, but let’s be real: he wasn’t asserting those to be his views. He was attributing them to his opposition.

Later today, I read an article about a fraternity chapter that, to go by the headline, got axed from official recognition by its university for a virulently racist party off campus. Nah, turns out that’s not the reason the school gave. Its reason was that the party was conducive to underage drinking. See the headlie? Sure, we all know that the racist thing is what got their attention, but the real story here is that the university used a pretext for which probably every frat house at a public university could be faulted. The headlie deceives.

All that we can do is to read the actual article, and not react to the headlie. I am convinced that a good percentage of political hatred in this country is generated by headlies taken at face value rather than investigated, the puppeteers trusting that most people simply won’t take time to catch the lie.

Our minds are being manipulated, and we must take them back. And we should remember the people who publish headlies, because they are warping perceptions on a massive scale.

The watchdog of democracy is not only tipping over the garbage can and trashing the place, it’s blaming the deed on the cat.


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