How often is the substance of a report informed or clouded or steered by the headlines that precede it?
Today’s Washington Post may be a fine illustration of this question. Take a look at the four headlines written for a single article by Philip Rucker. A reader can get a very different sense of Mitt Romney and the presidential candidate’s response last night to recent comments about his Mormon faith made by an Evangelical Christian pastor of a megachurch in Dallas.
So, a bit of context with a compare and contrast of each headline in its context. The lede for Sunday’s print edition:
“Romney Pushes Aside Mormonism Question”
And on this morning’s home page of WaPo’s website:
“Romney Condemns Religious Bigotry But Doesn’t Talk About His Faith”
The main page of the politics section reads:
“Romney Treats Issue of His Religion as Settled”
Finally, the headline that tops the actual article:
“Romney, His Mormonism a Campaign Issue Again, Condemns Religious Bigotry”