It’s All in the Headline

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Poor Behavior Is Linked to Time in Day Care – oh, scary day care!

Higher Vocabulary Is Linked to High-Quality Day Care – hmmm, that sounds good.

Of course, in the ever-present battle against working women, the New York Times chose the former for its headline yesterday and went with a story that focused on the negatives of day care. The story contained just one throw away line about the positive link to vocabulary.

It would have been simple to have done the opposite – the second headline above with a story about the positive effect day care has on vocabulary, with just a throw away line about the behavior effect (which, after all, was, as the article points out, merely “slight” and “well within the normal range for healthy children”).

But that wouldn’t have fueled the fire against working women or placed the article in the second spot on the list of most popular articles, so why would the Times do that?

– David S. Cohen

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0 Responses to It’s All in the Headline

  1. Joseph Slater says:

    I thought exactly the same thing after reading this article. Thanks for posting this.

  2. Great post. I had a similar reaction when the NYT Magazine published a cover story about the anti-choice movement titled, “Is there a Post-Abortion Syndrome?” There, Emily Bazelon did write that “the idea that abortion is at the root of women’s psychological ills is not supported by the bulk of the research. Instead, the scientific evidence strongly shows that abortion does not increase the risk of depression, drug abuse or any other psychological problem any more than having an unwanted pregnancy or giving birth.” But to be sufficiently ominous and provocative, the headline and theme of the article had to remain focused on the allegations that abortion “hurts women.”

  3. Caitlin – I posted about that back when that article appeared. It was infuriating as well. Check out this post.