These are all real headlines from today’s BBC website. (These are pretty horrific news items, which makes the headlines seem even more crass. And my mockery even more so, I guess.)
Ape academic shot dead in Ecuador
(In your face, creationists. This proves that apes are so close to us that they even have their own universities.)
Turkey plane crashes in Holland
(Flightless birds forced to develop aviation skills, to escape from Bernard Matthews clutches before next Christmas.)
Tiger attacks trigger expert plea
(In court today, a ballistics technician’s claim to be “Not guilty” was destroyed by a forceful wildcat prosecutor)
Late amendment, the BBC heading now says “Turkish plane crash in Amsterdam ” thus making an apparent liar of me. But, I will choose to take the credit instead.
Moving away from Jamie Whyte article and the inevitable Christian wackeroony response, points me towards something that annoys me just as much as the blatant idiocy of the religious.
Once upon a time, the BBC was a bastion of the English language and a resource you could look on as “reliable and trustworthy.” At some point in the recent past, all this changed. Things have been bad for a while and lately they have reached a new low in the erratic, random, headlines they use for articles. On the whole, you wouldn’t care what the headline is, as you can read the article to find out more – however on the Internet the title is the link. It is what you see as a hook to read the article and (sadly) is often all people will read thinking they can get the news one sentence at a time. Sadly, in this task the BBC fails massively.
Take these examples from todays news articles. Have a look and see what you think the article is going to say, then visit the news item and see if it matches:
- Fewer teachers aim for principals (link)
- Brown makes justice deadline call (link)
- England ‘most crowded in Europe’ (link)
- Boys jailed for tram stop killing (link)
- Cancer woman stranded by XL (link)
- Review ordered into cancer move (link)
- Man tells police of woman’s body (link)
- Father’s rape quash bid rejected (link)
Now, admittedly, some may be easier to work out than others and for most you can get a good idea after a few moments thinking about what they are trying to say.
But that is my point.
These are headlines so desperate to get keywords in (and possibly do a bit of SEO for the BBC) that they sacrifice readability and legibility.
Why on Earth has the BBC stooped this low? Are people in the UK so ignorant, uneducated and time-short that they need this sort of nonsense?