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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Salon's Andrew Leonard-How The World Works

I like Salon, and though I've only read a few How the World Work's columns, I'm sort of ambivalent about Andrew Leonard. His post today made front page rotation. It's called, "The Break Up The Banks Delusion" Mr. Leonard, if by some chance you google your name, and this blog comes up, my apologies. I'd have commented on your blog. But I can't bear to get yet another password to sign in.

My issue here is the title is extremely misleading. I don't know if it was Leonard's idea or his editor's, but the title implies that Mr. Leonard is opposed to "breaking up the banks" and feels that those who believe in such are delusional. This is NOT what the post is about. In fact, the post is largely a cynical rant about how little progress has been made on the regulatory front. The "delusion" isn't that the people who believe in strict regulatory policy are delusional because of their ideals, they're delusional if they think Congress will pass it.

I'm just as cynical and I agree. But I hate it when bloggers do this. That title is incredibly misleading. And it's disappointing when any group does this (and Salon's titles are often misleading) but particularly frustrating for me when liberal groups do it.

The raison d'etre for headlines is that most people only read the large type. It's a teaser to make you read the small type--but if it doesn't work, your only impression of the article (blog) is gleaned from the headline. In this case, if you're scanning the headlines for something good to read, and you don't pick Leonard's columnm, all you're getting is that Salon think's it's bullshit to break up the banks. And that type of impression is irresponsible if it isn't the truth.

In the preceeding paragraph I touched upon another issue. Nothing to do with Mr. Leonard. The distance between articles and blogs is closing rapidly. Large reporting outlets would do well to delineate the difference with striking visual difference. And the word's "opinion" should always be nearby. Too many people take their news from columnists without ever realizing that it. I do it myself. Maybe I'm lazy, but I work hard, and I don't have too much time. Making that difference apparent would be really really easy. Salon, Slate, MSNBC, CNN, please do so.

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