This week I happened, totally by chance, to see some opinion pages from The Wall Street Journal. I don’t subscribe to WSJ nor do I seek out their opinion very often. But my boss loves money – he loves to eat it – so he’s a subscriber. You know the type. He has investments and actually gives a shit about what happens in the stock market. He spends his free time reading about tax laws, learning how to live life and structure things so he can pay as little as possible, etc.
I happened to glace at the opinion page on Tuesday, April 12, 2011, and there was Barack Obama front and center. Above him, a headline asked, “Who’s the Extremist Now?” I remember thinking, “Nice. Now that is subtle.”
Then, a mere two days later, on Thursday, April 14, 2011, I noticed Obama was featured on the opinion page. Again! There was another picture of Obama and the headline above asked, “Who Do You Trust?”
Holy fuck shit, Batman. It looks like we’ve discovered a trend!
Yes, I’m aware I’m about to discuss the opinion pages of a major newspaper. The op-ed pieces I mentioned above were apparently produced by WSJ staff writers who both had WSJ email addresses. It is fitting and proper for a newspaper to let it all hang on their opinion pages. But I’ll expound on this further in just a bit.
For those of us not too quick on the uptake, here’s how drive-by journalism works. Grab a picture of someone you don’t like, perhaps even the President of the United States. If possible, select a picture that is unflattering, but not overly so. Perhaps your victim is in mid-sneer or has a slightly ominous look on his face. Perfect!
Next comes the fun part. Write your headline. Since this is the “opinion” page feel free to phrase it as a question. This simple but effective method allows you the freedom to implant almost any message into your reader’s brains.
Lastly, try to find a writer, journalist and/or pundit to write an article to go with your creation. This might seem superfluous and a little bit overboard, but it’s actually quite important for your opinion page to appear, at least to the naked eye, to have some small measure of legitimacy.
There! Stand back and marvel at what you’ve done. An honest day’s work you can be proud of. And, best of all, it’s subtle.
So, I couldn’t help but wonder. This little tactic is so effective and fun, could this possibly work on anyone else?
First, let’s connect some quick dots.
- The Wall Street Journal is owned by Dow Jones & Company Inc.
- Dow Jones & Company Inc. is owned by News Corporation.
- The Founder, Chairman, and CEO of News Corporation is Rupert Murdoch.
Ah. Rupert Murdoch. The man who brought us FOX News. Suddenly I think we’re on to something here. He’s not exactly known for his desire to be unbiased. Murdoch’s penchant is for “advocacy journalism” or “agenda journalism.” Both labels fit his style quite well, I think.
Murdoch has been married three times. Notably, after divorcing from his second wife, he married for the third time only 17 days after his divorce was final. Only 68 years young at the time, Murdoch married Wendi Deng, age 30, presumably among those who find personal wealth on the order of $6.3 billion to be reason enough to find Murdoch’s face highly lickable. (An assumption on my part.)
All hail true love! As always, when it is really true that is a very magical and special thing, indeed.
I guess it might be a good thing for conservatives in the United States that Murdoch doesn’t inject too much of his own morals and sensibilities into his endeavors like FOX News and the WSJ.
Back on August 1, 2007, the merger between News Corp and Dow Jones was a done deal. The WSJ responded with an editorial on that same date claiming that Murdoch intended to “maintain the values and integrity of the Journal.” The WSJ was long considered to be liberal in news reporting and conservative on the opinion pages.
Now, back on topic, I’m wondering if we can take a page from the WSJ and try it ourselves. All we need is a picture and a headline. Let’s try it out!
Fooled Around While Still Married to Wife #2?
Whoa! I take it all back. This shit is fun after all! 🙂
So, what do you think? Are the tactics above featuring Obama on the WSJ opinion pages fair tactics? Or do they go too far?
And, more importantly, can you think of great headlines for other photos? Give it a try!
Some dipshit from BP testified before Congress today. Or something. Whatever.
So I log in to my iGoogle home page tonight.
I normally eschew the iGoogle thing. It’s a bit lame. But I got this new widget thingie with a hamster that runs in a wheel, and, well, frankly, it makes it worth the trip.
Anyway. I get on iGoogle and the following two headlines blast me right in the face:
Fox News: BP CEO’s Day in Congress’ Kangaroo Court
New York Times: BP Chief Offers Few Answers, Frustrating Lawmakers
Oh, God. What a treat. Seriously, I just adore Dove moisturizing liquid, relaxing baths in Calgon, boxes of fine chocolates, sweet Zinfendel wine, and, of course, good belly laughs. Voila! My after work pick-me-up of the day.
Neither link went to a page that was clearly labeled as “opinion.” Remember in the newspaper they actually denoted which pieces were news and which were editorials? “Opinion” had its own page. On the web these days those lines seem to be blurred. To be fair, however, the Fox News piece was served up under the heading “Common Sense.” Riiiiiiiight.
If, and that’s a big if, I wanted to sail around the world, you can bet your ass I would steer clear of the waters off the coast of Somalia. You don’t have to be Einstein to make that sort of travel plan adjustment.
Besides, if I was kidnapped by Somali pirates, they’d be screwed. (And by logical extension, I’d be somewhat screwed as well.) I don’t think there is anyone on the planet who would be willing to pay more than $50 US to save my bacon. Sorry pirates, bad move kidnapping this guy.