Screen Captures is a feature written by…me. The fancy description says it’s a study of various headline “teaser” graphics found on cable news outlets that analyzes a sample for bias or note-worthy content.


But really, I just want to look at what they’re putting on the screen and see what’s good and what’s garbage.


For the week ending 05-19-07:


“Falwell on ‘End of Days’”—CNN. When Rev. Jerry Falwell passed away on 5/15, CNN trotted out this interview from 2005, regarding natural disasters and their possible role in the end of the world. But what an interesting title to use, considering it was the end of Falwell’s days. Would CNN do that just to use a catchy headline that sneaks in “Falwell” and “end” in the same sentence on the day he died? Nah. That would be blasphemous.


“Still Influential?”—MSNBC. Falwell’s death prompted this question from MSNBC about the declining role of the religious right in the Republican party and American politics in general. The problem is that they asked the question while his body was still cooling and before Falwell’s web site put up an official statement. I’m sure it’s a valid question to ask, but could they wait until, you know, someone held a service or something?


 “Bush Says Goodbye”—MSNBC. This one is kind of funny; it’s really about Tony Blair saying goodbye, not Bush. Maybe this is wishful thinking on MSNBC’s part, but the President isn’t going anywhere just yet. He might be saying goodbye to his conservative base with the immigration bill, but the Oval Office is occupied until January 2009.

“Perv in the Pew”—Fox News. A little alliteration, a little sensationalism and a little sex: What more could you want out of a headline? Actually, the story of an attacker who assaulted his victim in church (captured on video, of course) was pretty creepy. In the end, she got away, he got arrested and Fox got a snazzy headline.


“Witz End?”—MSNBC. We have another screen capture from the third-ranked cable news outlet, but they were on top of their game with good and bad headlines. This one is the best of the week, leading to a story of Paul Wolfowitz’ impending resignation from the World bank. It’s short, it packs a punch and it actually explains what the story is about. Why can’t they do that every time instead of misleading viewers (see MSNBC’s other offerings above)?

Be Sociable, Share!