I went on to the Huffington Post this morning and was obviously outraged when I read the headline, "Coal CEO Calls Mine Safety Rules 'As Silly As Global Warming'." I almost stopped there, and even told somebody about this outrageous statement.
However, when I clicked through to the story and watched the video, I discovered that that really isn't what he said at all. Here's the actual quote:
"As someone who has overseen the mining of more coal than anyone else in the history of central Appalachia, I know that the safety and health of coal miners is my most important job. I don’t need Washington politicians to tell me that, and neither do you. But I also know — I also know Washington and state politicians have no idea how to improve miner safety. The very idea that they care more about coal miner safety than we do is as silly as global warming."
For the sake of this exercise, I'll choose to ignore the fact that he calls global warming silly. The issue here is Huff Po's incredibly misleading headline. What this guy is saying is that the idea that people from Washington know more about mine safety than he does is silly. Granted, several of them probably know BETTER than him, due to the fact that he owns a mine that just killed 24 of its workers, but he never makes the claim that mine safety rules are silly.
If you see my Rasmussen post from a week or two ago, you'll see that I think that misleading headlines are one of the biggest problems with online sensationalist journalism, and count on people not clicking on them in order to bend the truth and spread pre-spun information. Huff Po does it, Drudge does it (a lot), Rasmussen does it, and pretty much every other partisan online partisan news website does it do. This mistreatment of the truth distorts facts for personal gain. What Huff Po is trying to do is drive people to their site by getting people who are rightfully pissed off at this douchebag over the mine collapse to send this to all their friends, tweet about it, and try to spread their indignation as far as the broadband cable can see. When stuff like this goes on from pretty reputable sources, it only gives more credence to the idea that the internet will never be able to serve as a reliable news source, which will only hurt Huff Po in the long run.