AP Provides a Master Class in Bad Headline Writing

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I don’t generally go ballistic over every headline or Twitter summary that doesn’t accurately represent the underlying story, but WTF AP?

The Twitter summary makes it sounds like both candidates were about equally fact challenged, but if you click through you’ll find six (6) cases of Trump lying in various degrees, and two (2) cases of Hillary—well, of Hillary not lying. One passage is simply Hillary saying what she thinks policy should be, with AP’s “fact check” consisting of telling us that this isn’t what current policy is. The other is a little complicated, but it appears that Hillary may have overstated the results of a study.

So that’s that. Trump pretty much lied his way through his speech, while Hillary was slightly too far over her skis about the results of one study. And that produces the Twitter summary above.

Sometime soon we’re bound to get another round of “Gee, why don’t people see through Donald Trump???” Well, this is one of the reasons. If you read only the Twitter summary of this AP story—and lots of people do—you’ll come away with the impression that both candidates are basically cut from the same cloth. You’d never know that one makes only small and occasional exaggerations on policy issues while the other is a blowhard demagogue who flatly doesn’t care about the truth one way or the other. No wonder so many people just shrug when you tell them that Trump lies practically every time he opens his mouth. Doesn’t Hillary do the same thing?

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This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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