Sunday, March 01, 2015

Questions to which the answer is NO

Betteridge's Law of Journalism states:

"If a question is posed in a headline, the answer will always be 'no'".

And - by-and-large - this is a law which is correct. Take, for example, the above picture taken from the South East London News Shopper, a publication with a knack for finding stories that even the daily mail won't touch.

Has a ghost been caught on film at Orpington Priory? they ask.

The answer is - of course - no. No, you bloody idiots, it's not a ghost.

The News Shopper also give us Is this bin offensive? (No, you idiots) and  Is McDonald's in Eltham haunted by the headless ghost of a pregnant woman? (No, you idiots).

But it's not just the local press asking Questions To Which The Answer Is No. The Daily Mail, clickbait kings of the world, just can't leave it alone.

Is this spooky apparation the Grey Lady of Hampton Court?

No. No it isn't you bloody images. It is a photograph taken on panorama mode just as somebody walks into frame. In fact, you can see the same person in a subsequent snap, not looking ghostly at all. But let's not let so-called "evidence" get in the way of about 100,000 solid click-thrus and all the advertising money that comes with it, eh?

They asked the question, and you've got to read the article with an air of disappointment because, once again, you've been tricked into clicking on a Question To Which The Answer is No. But it's too late, they've got you.

Ed assures us that he is just a normal guy, puny Earth people
It's not all UFOs and ghosts, mind you. QTWTAIN also asks the big questions that you never knew were important. For example, Ed Miliband is just a normal guy trying to become prime minister. However, certain sections of the press want you to believe that he is potentially history's greatest monster. How better to ask a question in a headline to which the answer is no, but is enough to plant a kernal of doubt in the mind of the reader.

Is Ed Miliband worse than Stalin?
Does Ed Miliband eat babies for breakfast?
Is Ed Miliband going to tax the middle classes for the very air that they breathe?
Will Ed Miliband come round your house the day after the election and shit on the front seat of your car?

Nobody asks these questions about David Cameron, which just goes to show the bias in the press.

However, it's in my sphere of interest that QTWTAIN grabs me, for you are never more than a few days away from a blurry picture of a pet cat in a field with the inevitable question:

Does this photo prove the existence of The Beast of Tamworth?

The answer being 'no'. No, you idiots. It's a regular-sized pet cat closer than you thought.

I've seen the Fleet Panther on two occasions now, and both times I hung around long enough to realise it was nmy neighbour's Cat That Looks Like Hitler, coming out of the mist just in time to prove it wasn't a six-foot monster bent to rip out my throat.

One of these days, I'll see the real Fleet Panther, get a decent photograph, and will be able to get something in the Fleet News and Mail which will be a rare Question To Which The Answer Is Yes.

Until then, I'll continue to stake out the goats in the back garden.

"You baaaaa-stard!"


Mr Larrington said...

David Cameron does eat babies for breakfast because, as any fule kno, he is a lizard.

TRT said...

Well the Watford Observer has been running a piece headlined "Should the lights at the Dome roundabout stay off permanently"

The answer is, of course, no you idiots, can't you remember the utter hell that it was for pedestrians and all the death and maiming which was why they put them in in the first place. But the great unwashed poll of motorists seems to come back 'Yes'.

Thus proving your point, I think, and reinforcing the secondary effect.