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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • Jerry Jackson: GO BEYOND THE HEADLINES

  • Headlines often show bias that doesn't match the real content of the story
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  • A recent survey of journalism students at the University of Missouri asked survey participants their goals if they enter the journalism industry.  The most often given reply was they wanted to make a difference and influence events in this country.
                Assuming not all students will become opinion writers, what happened to the now seemingly forgotten task of reporting what happened in a professional manner with as little bias as possible?
                Even if a reporter is attempting an honest story, the efforts of the headline maker (I’m sure there must be a title for this noble work) often defeats the reporters efforts.  How many times do we scan a news story and see if the headlines grab our attention.
                Some recent examples from the Arkansas Dem-Gaz illustrate the point.  The headline for the front page (above the fold) on April 15th is so typical.  The headline screams HEALTH-LAW COST SEEN $104 BILLION LESS OVER DECADE.  Gee, that sounds like good news. Are we really going to get some reduction in the deficit or even the 17 trillion+ national debt as promised by Obama?
                For those who take the time to read the entire story you may be disappointed.  The article tells us according to the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) the net cost of Obamacare over the next decade will only be 1.4 trillion dollars instead of the previous estimate of slightly over 1.5 trillion.  There now, doesn’t that make you feel better?
                That’s somewhat similar to saying instead of losing $220,000 on the sale of your house, you now find out you will be losing just slightly over $200,000.  With this kind of savings you can now afford to pay cash for that new auto you have always wanted.
                Estimating the cost of Obamacare over the next decade is similar to estimating the grains of sand in a mile of beach front property.  Look no further than the government estimate of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid or unemployment compensation.  In each case the actual cost has been over the estimate by a factor of somewhere around 5.
                Let’s examine another instance of headline grabbing attention in the Arkansas section of the Dem-Gaz dated April 16th.  Reporter Sarah Wire teams up with her headline buddy to tell us that Cotton raised more money in the first three months of 2014 than his opponent Mark Pryor but the headline reads:  COTTON, PRYOR CAMPAIGNS FILE FINANCE DATA.
    Page 2 of 3 -             Turn now to page 5 of that same Dem-Gaz section and the headline reads:  ROSS OUTRAISES HUTCHINSON IN GUBERNATORIAL RACE.  The details in the story tells us last month Ross raised $222,000 last month compared to $200,000 for Hutchinson.  The story goes on to tell us that this is the first time this year that Ross had raised more funds than Hutchinson.  You certainly wouldn’t know that by scanning the headline, would you?  In each case the headlines were favorable to the Democrat candidate.
     
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    In an attempt to solidify his stance with women Obama is now jumping on the well worn complaint that women are underpaid.   With TV cameras rolling he proclaims women earn only 77 percent of men’s compensation.  Rumor has it this is part of a strategy to mollify the Democrat candidates that are fighting for their lives in the upcoming November election.  In the backrooms of campaign headquarters everywhere the Democrats are pleading – after your screw ups on Obamacare, the many scandals and your foreign policy foul ups, please give us something we can point to as a Democrat issue we can support.
    As Thomas Sowell puts it the “war on women” is in fact a war against common sense.  Constantly repeating the “77 percent” statistic does not make it so.  It would be discriminating if women were doing the same work as men with the same number of hours and the same training and experience.
    As I have noted in previous columns and verified by Sowell there is apparently no study comparing the women who work in the same conditions with equal seniority and taking on the same responsibility with their male counterparts.  Perhaps there is such a study and the results are being suppressed.
    Sowell points out in his research that young male doctors make more than young female doctors.  He then states it is easily explained because the young male doctors on average worked 500 hours a year more. Feminists and politicians who are pleading for their vote often compare compensation of men and women with the same titles such as doctors, lawyers, consultants or whatever.  In our capitalistic economy (at least for now) professionals and others are not paid for their titles but for what they actually accomplish.
    Page 3 of 3 -            
    (Jerry Jackson of Heber Springs writes his “conservative viewpoint” column each week)

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