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There’s more than one story for any good headline

Sometimes, it’s hard to figure out from a headline what a story is really about.

I have limited time in deciding what I want to read, so I need the headlines to help guide me. It’s disappointing to read a headlin e like “How to make it rich,” and then find out it’s a recipe for banana pudding.

I’ve started taking a different approach to reading the headlines. By expecting the worst, the story is a little less likely to disappoint me when it turns out to be more legit than I had imagined.

For instance, I’m glancing at recent headlines and surmising from there:

“Yosemite officials say 1,700 visitors risk rare rodent disease.” — What is the headline writer not telling us? All others risk more common rodent diseases? All others risk rare domesticated animal diseases? Officials ‘say’ this but are they lying? 1,700 visitors risk the disease; others simply embrace it?

See, you can’t tell from the headline alone. That story could go in any direction. You really have to look at the subhead if there is one. If there isn’t one, I just make one up.

Or, the headline makes me askquestions. Here are a few more:

“Lindsay Lohan says she’s being framed in theft of $100,000.” Anyone can see that her thefts are much smaller.

“Isaac threatens broad area with storm surge, heavy rainfall.” Broads refuse to leave.

Ooh, we’re getting off on the wrong political foot, aren’t we?

“GOP convention opens as Romney, Ryan arrive in Tampa.” They’re late?

“Longest-serving female inmate wins parole.” I didn’t know parole was a contest. I’m glad to see an inmate won it, though. Non-inmates probably don’t need parole as much.

“72-year-old woman killed by dump truck.” What was she doin next to the dump truck?

“IBM mainframe evolves to serve the digital world.” Virtual doughnuts?

“Clemens leaves door open for a return.” Returns everywhere praise open door policy.

“West Nile found in North Whitehall mosquito.” East Nile found in Sudan.

“Does weekly marijuana use by teens really cause a drop in IQ?” What was the question again? If you’re a teen using marijuana every week, maybe your IQ wasn’t so high to begin with.

“Nervewracking week for Bears on the bubble.” Much calmer for bears on the bottle.

“Amazing footless footballer causes a stir in Rio.” Not really football, is it?

“Overtreatment is taking a harmful toll.” Under treatment ain’t doing so well, either.

“What do Swedes think of the Swedish Chef?” Next up: What Danes think of danishes.

Well, you get the picture. Jeepers, I need a hobby.

©Copyright 2012 by David Porter who can be reached at I can only imagine what the headline on this column looks like this week.

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