I realize that flashy headlines help get views on ones seed, I also realize it helps generate the sort of outrageous and emotional outburst that one may be looking for, but is it to the benefit of this site, and this community that many members do so with regularity? I'm not going to name names, give specific examples, or say that one side does it more than the other. There are many guilty parties.
What I am going to argue is that it defeats the purpose of "getting smarter here", and it only serves to stifle reasoned debate. It plays on our emotions, rather than our ability to think critically about the serious issues and topics posed, and it increases partisan rhetoric.
I'm all for comical headlines, satire, articles which have a specific purpose, or those which are intentionally sarcastic, etc. However what I do have a problem with is seeding articles and changing the headline in such a way that sensationalizes the topic beyond reason.
Let's pretend that I am either seeding or writing an article on the child molestation scandal within the Catholic church. I find an interesting article by Joan Jones entitled "Sex-Scandal Divides Church, Pope Remains Silent...". This topic by itself is sure to generate a wealth of debate, but the typical offending headline which I speak of might change the original to read "In Silence, Pope supports child molestation..."
Let's try another one: "10 die in Israeli Flotilla raid, Netenyahu Returns to Israel as International Criticism Soars".
Possible offending headlines:
"Israel Protects itself from those who would aid and abett Terrorists"
"Israel Continues to Disregard the rights of Non-Violent Protestors, Nazi Germany Alive and Well"
The point here is that the above examples I have given do not pave the way for what is most desperately needed, reasoned and rational debate that can further the dialogue, and increase our understanding of the situation. We become emotionally imbedded in either side of the argument, and we fail to recognize all the facts. We boil things down to simple black and white arguments, and ignore all the shades of grey and the complexities of the situation.
We are so desperate to prove our point, and more importantly we are desperate to prove that the other is an idiot that we do ourselves a disservice.
Quite frankly it's getting boring, and I have a feeling it has caused a lot of people to leave the community, and many more will leave if the primary offenders don't start policing their own behavior.