Whirled headline writer spins poll for Bartlett Jr?

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Here's what came in the afternoon email newsletter from tulsaworld.com:

61 percent give Bartlett 'C' or better in new poll
By BRIAN BARBER World Staff Writer
Of the survey's participants, 6 percent gave Bartlett an "A," 23 percent a "B," 32 percent a "C," 21 percent a "D" and 15 percent an "F," with 3 percent refusing to answer.

That's one way to look at it, but other ways of combining the data don't look so good for the Tulsa Mayor: 68 percent gave Bartlett Jr a "C" or worse, or 36% consider Bartlett Jr a failure or in danger of failing, or Bartlett Jr gets more Ds and Fs than As and Bs.

And indeed between the time that email was sent and the time I visited the site to read the story, the headline had changed:

68 percent give Bartlett 'C' or below in new poll

The initial comments on the story were puzzled by the original headline:

trex4ou,

Headline should read 68 percent give Bartlett 'C' or below in new poll.

But however you want to spin it, results are the same.

tbgalileo, Tulsa

my thoughts exactly, trex4ou, or another way to headline this would be that the Mayor's unfavorable rating leads the favorable rating by 7%. Spin away, but it's apparent that most of us in the city aren't happy with his performance.

Sometimes a correction is noted with a comment by a Whirled staffer, but the only indication of the change on this story is "Last Modified: 3/9/2011 4:02 PM" at the top.

Did someone decide that the original headline had a little too much spin?

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1 Comments

Roy said:

To ask the question almost answers it. But then one wonders whether cynicism or charity should direct the next steps.

Charity ponders whether one could write a neutral headline which would still entice readers. After all, that's how a newspaper stays in business (and how a blog keeps its readership ;^D)

Cynicism believes nobody really wants unfiltered facts,clearly presented and easily read.
Cynicism concludes that newspapers keep a finger up into the wind, sensing the direction that will best sell papers. Cynicism even muses on which finger that might be. Cynicism reads the comments in the 'net version of a newspaper and attempts to decide which Twilight Zone is present.

In the end, the headline getting changed tips the scale to cynicism. To ask the question does answer it.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on March 9, 2011 6:09 PM.

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