The Czar might like to take a moment to return to one of his favorite tropes: the festering arrogance of the Main Stream Media. Specifically, the Czar would like to introduce you to one of their techniques which seems to be growing in popularity lately: the Bait and Switch.
This is our name for the technique; the Main Stream Media might call it something else, but rest assured they have a name for it. There is a name for every trick in journalism, because they do indeed know what they are up to, and despite all evidence to the contrary they think you are too stupid to understand these things.
The Bain and Switch goes like this: put out a shocking headline, and then dismiss its reality far into the story.
For example, the Czar spotted on this morning: Will Melting Ice Release Ancient Thawed Bacteria? Following this was a recap of global climate change, this and that about the competency of people who are skeptical, and reassurances that it is real. Then the big question: Will melting ices allow ancient, unknown bacteriawhich we know can reactivate when thawedto spread and infect life with million-year-old diseases, for which we have no immunity? Then, as always, the next paragraph: Scientists believe this is unlikely.
Okay. So then there is no news story. So why do it?
Three possibilities, based on the story.
First, the editor is a total moron. He heard some goofy thing about melting ice and frozen, paleological bacteria, and then put the two together. More than likely, he read a book or watched a sci-fi show about this, and got spooked. Either way, he ordered someone to investigateand the reporter discovered no such story. Generally, here are your science stories.
Second, the editor is a jerk. You see this with political stories all the time: Is Rick Santorum in league with racists? Fifteen paragraphs in comes the admission, well, no…not at all. But the editor is counting on the fact that most people never read more than the headline before forming an opinion, and might at most scan the first few expository paragraphs before moving on. In which case, the readers think maybe he is cahooting with racists, and never get to the anti-libel piece that clarifies that Rick Santorum does not.
Third, the editor is revealing his nature. You get this with both politics and pop culture stories: the editor is shocked to discover that something he believes to be truelike Mitt Romney tortures animals is not the case, and he is so shocked to discover that this is untrue that it might actually be news.
But note the pattern: lots of fluff and boring stuff you know up front, to get you to stop reading the story before you discover that, well, no…not actually.
How can you tell? Here is a simple ruleany time a headline ends in a question mark, the story is either a Bait and Switch or the writer didnt bother to do the basic research necessary to form a complete story.
Check it out.
Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.