#2. Use Half a Quote as a Headline
It's hard to title an article. We struggle with this mind-blowingly difficult problem at Cracked. So did the soccer columnist who heard cut U.S. World Cup team member Landon Donovan admit to -- briefly -- rooting against his own team before realizing how awful that was and feeling ashamed. Fortunately, that columnist was an honest man, and he came up with a fair title:
Unfortunately, the rest of the Internet is made up of lying crapmonsters:
"Also says other, less-important words."
This kind of thing is going to make celebrities not want to talk to us, folks. You've got the incredibly rare case of a pro athlete giving an honest interview and admitting something besides the fact that he thought Jesus was on his side. And for his courageous and candid words, lazy reporters turned him into the villain of their own made-for-TV sports movie.
#1. Make Small Issues Big by Giving Extra Authority to Tiny Groups
There are a lot of stupid, terrible opinions in the world that, luckily, are only held by like three people. Fortunately for online journalists, you can still cover them in your newspaper if you just don't mention that second part. For example:
"There's no way that infant had enough credits to be there."
But the reality is that she tweeted a picture, and a handful of people got mad. And not all that mad.
The rest is ... support? It's all support. Everyone else is supportive, because obviously they would be. It's almost like the entire media just saw the term "breast-feed" and, knowing that this is the type of topic people get angry about, assumed there were enough angry people to justify an article. And by the time they realized how wrong they were, their summary of what happened was pretty much already done. So fuck it.