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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Associated Press Changing Headlines To Protect Barack Obama?

Annoyance alert

Last night I wrote about the New York 9th District special election where Republican Bob Turner won the congressional seat formerly held by Anthony Weiner over his Democratic opponent Assemblyman David I. Weprin.

I linked to a piece from Seattlepi, written by the Associated Press, which headlined "GOP Wins in NY House Race, Seen as Obama Rebuke," only now the headline has been changed on that site and on the ABC News site which ran the same article written by AP writer Beth Fouhy.

Now both pieces are titled "GOP Upset Win in NY Portends Challenge for Obama."

Sites that originally linked to those pieces, like Memeorandum, used the original headlines.

The url to the Seattlepi piece also reflects the original headline with :

(Once saved on some platforms, even if the piece hasn't been published, the url will reflect the original headline, but the piece above was published and quoted from)

In the article, it still says "Turner's win was a rebuke to President Barack Obama, who won the district by 11 points in 2008 but has seen his popularity slide in New York and nationally amid high unemployment and a weak economy."

I see no mention, nor explanation as to why the headline was changed and why change it to begin with when the story supports the original headline in the first place?

To protect Barack Obama from those that look at headlines but do not always read the entire stories?

Did someone at the AP decide that using the word rebuke against Obama in the headline, was too harsh? Too critical of him?

Sometimes people, like I did last night, link to certain words in their writing to reflect a headline in another story, so it would be nice if once a story is published long enough to be quoted or have their headlines quoted, the outlets allowing the change in headlines make some sort of note reflecting the change.

[Update] Kudos to Yahoo News who kept the original headline to the same AP article written by the same person.

Disclaimer: I have changed headlines before when one needed correcting, or because of a spelling error, I have added updates to the end of a headline but once I have hit publish and then change the whole headline, whether it is to correct it or whatever reason, I note so at the end of the piece.