First impressions are the strongest. When it comes to print news, that impression is created by the headline. For many, with their busy schedules, the headline may be the only impression of the news they receive. So, it would seem, a hallmark of responsible journalism would be putting as much emphasis on writing an accurate headline as there is put on writing content. Now, consider the headline from this report by the AP on the Democratic primary race (dateline: Tue Apr 1):
Clinton Says Obama Wants to Stop Votes
First impression: Obama wants the primary race to end and be declared the nominee. Right? Now, compare that headline with what the report quotes Clinton as saying:
"My take on it is a lot of Senator Obama's supporters want to end this race because they don't want people to keep voting," she told CBS affiliate KTVQ in Billings, Mont. "That's just the opposite of what I believe. We want people to vote. I want the people of Montana to vote, don't you?"
So, if one took the time to read the full report, one finds that Clinton did not say of Obama what the headline would have you believe; that, instead, Clinton pointed the finger at Obama supporters. Not quite the same thing, is it? Indeed, the article includes quotes further down from Obama that directly contradict the headline. Given the importance of headlines in establishing first impressions of the news, one has to question the AP's trustworthiness as a news outlet.