Thursday, February 08, 2007

Headline: Cancer Causes Smoking!

I love the Boston Herald, but they're really got to do something about their headline writers. Their story today about the Great Boston Lite-Brite Panic of '07 bears the headline:


The "story" is that a hit-and-run victim in Dorchester had to wait 31 minutes for an ambulance because Turner Broadcasting forced the city to deploy Boston's EMS units to their pre-determined emergency-homeland-security-panic locations.

Uh, no. If the headline were correct and it was the Hasbro toys delaying ambulances, then there would be at least one ambulance delayed in at least one of the other 10 cities where these "sophisiticated electronics devices" were "deployed," right? But there were none. Zero.

The lite-brites didn't jump down from the walls of comic book stores and fling themselves into the path of oncoming emergency vehicles. The lite-brites did in Boston what they did in every other city: Looked odd in public places.

One city decided to declare them "hoax bombs" and treat them like a major threat. One city decided that the risk of stopped traffic, closed bridges, slowed ambulances, diminished police presence in other parts of the city, etc. was justified by the lite-brites. One city put an injured man at risk by reacting the way it did to the Lite-Brites.

A far more accurate headline for the Herald story would be: "Panicky City Officials Delay Ambulance Half Hour," or "Decision To Treat Toy Like Potential Suitcase Nuke Nearly Kills Taxpayer."

But the "prank" (what prank?) didn't do anything in Boston that it didn't also do in New York and L.A.

PS: I also wouldn't use the word "disgraced" to headline
this article, and my own Herald column today doesn't argue that the "Globe [is] not warming," rather that we don't know enough about what's happening to justify spending trillions of dollars to try and do something to change the weather. Like I said, I love the Herald--but I would write different headlines.