President Obama: George W. Bush Not As Bad A President As People Make Him Out To Be

Obama-InterviewOn Tuesday while speaking in front of reporters, President Obama was presented with a question about his predecessor’s reputation as being “one of the worst presidents in history.”

His response was fairly shocking.  President Obama responded by saying, “President George W. Bush wasn’t as bad a president as people make him out to be.  He did a lot of great things for our economy, national security and national debt.”

A stunned room of reporters seemed taken back by Obama’s remarks.  Well, all except those from Fox News who seemed to eagerly agree with them.

Following the remarks, right-wing media pundits jumped on the opportunity to praise President Obama for his “honesty.”  Rush Limbaugh said, “I always knew President Obama was a man of integrity and intelligence.”  While Glenn Beck chimed in claiming, “President Obama epitomizes what it is to be a “Constitutional American.”

But perhaps no comments were more shocking that those of Fox News personality Sean Hannity who said, “President Obama a great leader and a wonderful president, and I wish he could run in 2016 so I could cast my vote for Team Obama.”

Right now, I know what most of you are thinking, “There’s no way any of this is true.”

And you’d be right.  First, let me apologize to those who’ve got this far, because nothing in this article is true.  So while this isn’t a real story, congratulations — you’re not one of the individuals who allows themselves to be easily manipulated by misleading headlines.  You don’t form assumptions based on reading only a headline and maybe the first paragraph of an article.

See, in my writing I’ve noticed a very alarming pattern — people not reading the articles, but commenting on them.  Meaning, people will read the headline, make an assumption which they then seem to believe to be fact, then perpetuate that belief without ever once reading the article.  At that moment they take away “facts” base on nothing more than a handful of words.

This is extremely alarming, and it’s happening by both conservatives and liberals.  I know quite a few “liberal” media sites or Facebook pages who I’ve caught frequently writing headlines which are either extremely misleading or completely inaccurate.

It seems millions of people are having their political ideologies built based on only headlines.  They’re rarely reading many of these articles to find out if the information is credible.

The headline is written, they read it and assume it’s real, and at that moment “fact” for them is created — and we wonder why so many people are so easily manipulated by campaign attack ads or Fox News commentary.  The answer is pretty clear.

While this has literally happened with every single article I’ve ever written, it was never more prevalent than with my “Fox News Hires Paula Deen For New Cooking Show” piece.  It was a purely satire piece written to mock Fox News and how it wouldn’t be outside the realm of reality for them to offer Paula Deen a new show.

And like with all of my satire pieces (of which there aren’t many), I clearly state at the end that the story is fake.  Heck, even when posting them to a Facebook page I put a phrase that tells people, “You really need to read this story all the way till the end.”  Yet, even with all of that, three different “debunking” websites had to debunk the article because apparently they were sent quite a few emails from people who thought it was true.  Even though at the bottom  of the article it clearly states the story was fiction.

Which leads to the main reason why I wrote this particular article.  It’s alarming for me to see how many people seem to form their entire belief system based upon only reading a headline.   Even as I write this, I know at least 30-40% of the comments that will follow on Facebook will come from those who will have never read the article.

I would highly encourage all of you who made it this far to share this article.  See how many people you know will actually read it, or just base their opinion off the headline.

Because I hope many feel as I do, that it sets a dangerous precedent in this country when millions of people are building their belief system and political ideologies based completely off headlines.

The following two tabs change content below.
Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on both Twitter and Facebook. Have feedback, inquiries, criticism or hate mail? You can email him as well.


Facebook comments

  • Guest

    Love it. And so true. You actually had me there for a second.

    • Diane Henry

      I agree….. One thing I may add to that is that in the process of staying informed it is way too easy to skip over the explanations and the “crux” of the matter because you have other articles about other similarly important things to get to before you go to bed, work etc… Even though Obama may have continued certain policies of the Bush era, he seems to always tweak them. We can argue all day or night about details right and wrong but, it is quite obvious to me that Obama is his own man with his own ideas. I can’t say that for very many in the other party.

      Given the statistics within red states for education, you have to wonder how much people that read sites like Breitbart, WND etc… actually read beyond the titles. I think we can all admit to skimming but, in the process I think the left does a better job of comparing sources than the right. Our liberal heros have Ivy League educations. Their heros have a perscription drug problem, a bribery problem, an originality problem, an immunity to the facts problem, etc. etc. etc.

      But yeah…. this article had me there as well…. I was almost on the verge of ripping up any Obama stickers, pamphlets etc up…… Don’t worry though… I didn’t…. they are safe! LOL

      • You made my day

        It’s so funny to read this article and then read your comment. Basically you accuse the right of having an opinion without reading, yet you read and were dismissive of the entire article because it didn’t fit your political paradigm.

        “…I think the left does a better job of comparing sources than the right. Our liberal heros have Ivy League educations. Their heros have a prescription drug problem, a bribery problem an originality problem, an immunity to the facts problem…”

        You can’t be serious by putting all that on a comment board regarding an article about making shit up. Bush went to YALE, dumbass, Romney went to HARVARD. Obama smoked pot, Clinton didn’t inhale, Bush was an alcoholic. Tell me where exactly the parties differ on personal indiscretions?

        You, my friend, have an “immunity to the facts” problem, you see through a filter that masks all that you don’t want to see e.g., the good on the right, the bad on the left. Take your head out of your ass and see that neither party, nor people in their respective parties are infallible. Edward Kennedy killed a girl, his older brother screwed every girl in sight. GOP Governor from SC cheats on his wife and thinks he’ll be forgiven by expressing his undying love while Weiner keeps showing his. Seriously, stop choosing to be so blind!

      • nowheremandk

        Did you actually read Diane’s letter, or are you just responding to what you wanted her to have written? She was describing how she felt at the start of the article, and that she almost believed it was for real — but that she read it all the way through. Nowhere did she say she was dismissive of it, or that it didn’t fit her paradigm.

        And by the way: How many people in the Republican party look to Bush and Romney as heroes today? Not many, I’d wager. You’re not refuting her point by using them as counterexamples. If anything, you’re proving it.

      • Another day another inept fool

        So you mitigate my critique of Diane’s comment by accusing me of not reading it, despite that I cited her own words. So, I’ll put the proverbial shoe on the other foot and ask, “Did you actually read my response, or just responding to what you wanted me to have written?”

        “…this article had me there as well…. I was almost on the verge of ripping up any Obama stickers…” You are correct, she didn’t use the word “dismissive”, however she didn’t like anything that was being cited (true or not) until it supported her position rather than conflict her vehement hatred of Bush et al.

        Then you try and dismiss my examples as not being relevant to present times. Ironically the point was that neither side is immune to indiscretions nor does either have a monopoly on Ivy League education, not that Bush and Romney are “heroes”. So “nowheremandk” take a hike, as you clearly can’t accurately and sensibly critique a critique. You’ve only got two “ups” because the majority of readers on this site are liberal and don’t want to hear a centrist point of view.

      • Diane Henry

        For one thing, Bush is no longer a hero to republicans because he spent money. Yes that sentence is the short abreviated form of the story but follow me on the point. Romney was never a conservative hero. He was never “conservative enough.” Palin had to go to more than 4 minor colleges to get her bachelors degree. Rush Limbaugh is a dropout with the prescription drug problem. The originality problem was PROVEN by Rachel Maddow, Buzzfeed and other sources when it comes to Rand Paul and his “works.” That one was also proven by a site reading Brietbart for one of the sources of plagerism. The bribery problem is easily explained by something called Citizens United. I could go on but I don’t have time.

      • decreator

        Bush was an alcoholic cokehead, Don’t forget the yayo! lol

      • glorrierose


      • Zia

        You just started a rumor that President Obama is a tweaker. Wait until faux noise reads your post.

      • http://kylebumpus.com/ Kyle Bumpus

        The empirical evidence suggests confirmation bias is a HUMAN trait, not a conservative trait. I’ve seen absolutely no evidence to suggest the left does a better job of comparing sources than the right. In any event, education statistics would neither support (as you suggest) nor discredit your hypothesis since confirmation bias isn’t a function of educational attainment.

  • Nancy Camello

    I read everything!!!

  • Nathan Buchanan

    I was hoping this was satire. Glad it was. While presidents usually refrain from any harsh criticism of past administrations, high praise seemed seemed odd as well.

    • George

      Unless the former president was of the same political party.

      • RonTakeOne

        They might as well be in this case.

  • Kat Wolfdancer

    I posted… I wonder what ind of responses I’ll get

  • Matt

    Obama will eventually praise bush, it’s in his interest seeing as he has continued and expanded every bush era war on terror policy.

    • revspyro

      blablabla – seriously comparing Obama to Bush is ridiculous. We live in a new world and as far as America is concerned things will NEVER be the same again no matter who’s in office. It will not get better. Security will get tighter and tighter till the rest of the world loves us and that isn’t going to happen soon. This is because we bully other countries and occupy their lands due to our reliance on foreign oil. Obama tried to submit a long term clean energy bill that so far has been cock-blocked by Republicans at every turn so as far as tight ass security measures and your privacy are concerned blame your car – not the President.

      • GP38-2

        That hardly explains the force-feedings at Gitmo, the drone strikes into Pakistan (etc.), sending military machinery to both Israel *and* Egypt, etc. We don’t have to continue to maintain an interventionist foreign policy to protect oil interests. Indeed, if Obama decided to pull back, big oil would have to make some hard decision. Obama has been making life easy for them. So, blame the Republicans if it helps you sleep at night, but it looks like a head in the sand from over here.

      • Omarah Topaz

        Its funny how you have a voice and only use it to bitch, and not actually do anything.

      • Crystal Car

        It’s hard to do stuff about what is happening when nobody will band together. Or somebody tries to take over as a leader, or nobody wants to put themselves out there.

    • Jennifer Cordes

      Matt please avail yourself of a dictionary and the words “filibuster” and “compromise”. Yes, Obama extended many Bush-era policies..in order to get what he wanted and felt the country needed. It’s a centuries-old practice of give-and-take that is sometimes required to secure certain liberties and benefits for the common good. Some have called it manipulation or caving in to the American Taliban (AKA: the GOP). I call it “GOVERNING”.

  • Tor Leightenen

    But uhh, hasn’t Obama been saying this for 4+ yrs by continuing (hell expanding) numerous Dubya’ policies? Damn right he has been. Actions speak louder than words

    • Guest

      You win!

      • Meg

        I was really hoping I would see a comment that proves the point of the WHOLE article. Thank you.

      • pkgsf96

        I believe Tor’s “But uhh” indicates he *did* read the WHOLE article.

        that whooshing noise was, oh I dunno, a reference to continued warrantless surveillance and data collection, as it sailed right over your head.

      • dancerboots

        Except they aren’t warrant-less and have lots of oversight. I understand, collecting incoming/outgoing phone calls information is allowed and the Supreme Court has said so, several times. We (meaning the customer) have already given our okay for third party use. i.e. the right to our privacy as far as collecting metadata. Congress has the ability to define and refine our laws to protect our privacy and ensure national security. Let’s hope they work on introducing common sense and workable legislation toward that end…Democrats as well. Republicans continue to search for a scandal on their quest to win an election.

      • RonTakeOne

        Three cheers for literacy! Hip Hip…

        “Actions speak louder than words” means that while Obama may not have said those words with his mouth, his actions did say them. This is an indication that Tor read the entire article.

    • guest

      *SIGH* Read the rest of the article

      • pkgsf96

        I said it two seconds ago, and I’ll say it again:

        I believe Tor’s “But uhh” indicates he *did* read the rest of the article.

        that whooshing noise was, oh I dunno, a reference to continued warrantless surveillance and data collection, as it sailed right over your head.

      • Coolpostbro

        Say it as many times as you want. It’s only your opinion, which appears to be incorrect.

      • Jan Civil

        there’s an assumption you relied on now twice, which wasn’t evident to begin with. you didn’t ‘refer’ to that, you may have *implied* it… the ‘warrantless’ bit seems rather to indicate you are the type of person that forms strong or even unmovable opinions from headlines more than further reading.

  • Jeffrey Pryor

    LOL..loved it.

  • Al Johnson

    On FB, you said 30 to 40 %… The reality was more like 85%… Never thought of it that way. Excellent point. Kind of reminds me of the Preacher with the Bible…

    • Allen Clifton

      Yes I might have drastically underestimated my numbers on that. I didn’t want to seem too over the top.

  • http://studiosnowlion.blogspot.com/ Tetsu Deinonychus

    Nice trick.

  • Mike Zellers

    these kind of articles are dumb.

  • Dawn Stovey

    There is some validity to what u r say n however maybe the media should report the news; instead of try n to manipulate the public for some social experiment. Do ur jobs and don’t worry if people only read the headline. It isn’t news that people make stupid assumptions on half of what they c or hear that isn’t new or news.

    • Allen Clifton

      Isn’t part of the “news” making people aware and informed of something?

      Is it not “news” that millions of people are allowing themselves to be manipulated by false headlines and building their “facts” based on those?

      I’m sorry, but that’s a story. Seeing hundreds of comments on the Facebook pages I’m attached to ranting on about the headline when they never bothered to read the article.

      THAT is news and THAT is something people need to be made aware of.

      • karen_green

        It is really pathetic that so many people miss your point. I am just heart broken but not surprised.

      • Allen Clifton

        Well my hope is that this creates some kind of awareness to the problem. In a day an age of seemingly endless information, people are more misinformed than ever.

      • Katrin Tulev

        I agree, it drives me crazy when articles are posted to affect opinions, like the one about Obama reading a book called “The Post American World.” Even after reading the article, it wasn’t very factual, but rather it’s goal was to induce a certain emotion. But, if you actually take a look at what the book was about… you find out it has nothing to do with what the article wishes its audience to believe. I definitely agree that its a shame people take no thought to research what they read, or continue to share, as well as how others take every opportunity to make their articles “persuasive” without applying the principles of journalistic integrity.
        When reading the article, the whole time I was thinking, “yeah right! I would like to personally see this interview.”

  • paul

    The assumption Allen makes is it is the public’s fault. Perhaps such headlines, including yours, should not be so misleading. We’re all tired of childish pranks and numbing satire. I want my three minutes back.

    • Allen Clifton

      It is the publics fault. The article clearly states for anyone who would read more than 40% of it that it’s fake. It’s not my fault people would rather assume their “facts” based on headlines than read information. I invite you to go to any Facebook page which this article was shared and see the overwhelming amount of people who didn’t read it, yet decided to write paragraph long comments bashing it because they assumed it’s “truth.”

      This wasn’t a prank, it was an article to show how easy people allow themselves to be manipulated because they don’t take a couple of minutes to actually read something instead of just assuming something based on a handful of words.

      • Michelle Todd

        It was a bit of a prank, haha, but a well-intentioned one. Anyway, I find it funny that some people will take more time typing out a really obnoxiously long counter-comment, than they would have taken actually READING the article haha.

      • Charles Vincent

        Sort of like how politicians rarely read the legislation they vote on.

      • http://willconley.info/ Will Conley

        I would be interested in reading your response to Don’s comment above.

      • paul

        Sounds like you are the one who has been “manipulated” Allen.

  • bryant tillman

    Allen, I don’t need you to wag your holloween-ass bullschit trollisms in my face and tell me “I’m” the one with the perception problem. only a sociopath would resort to this crassness without considering the consequences of lying to the public. On a more ontological level, I haven’t seen lately any great distance between O’Bama and Bush that O’Bama himself expressed. We are on a one-way handbasket to hell…and O’Bama, by this time, MUST CLAIM FULL RESPONSIBILITY for his tenure. He has set the legal stage for a re-emergent fascist putsch.

    • Allen Clifton

      Please show me where I “liked to the public.” The article clearly states that it’s fake. In fact over 60% of the article explains what the article is about. I can’t help it if people don’t read articles then whine about “being lied to.” That’s the whole point of why I wrote it and if you’re too ignorant to see that, then I can’t help you.

      • http://willconley.info/ Will Conley

        Your continued defense weakens your position. Address new concerns; ignore previously addressed concerns.

    • Crystal Car

      Or maybe, just maybe, He is trying to educate people so they may learn
      to look through. I took a test the same as another commentator said you
      had twenty questions they said read through and the last one was don’t
      answer. He’s just pointing out a flaw that everybody could fix by not
      being lazy.

  • StarProphecy7279

    Guess, I’m gullible. I actually believed everything you said until you stated it wasn’t. Huh. Guess I should really start double checking what I read in the news.

    • Allen Clifton

      Always double check what you read. If an article has no source back to any information, or if that source just leads back to articles from that same media outlet with no hard links to where they got their information you should always be skeptical.

      Especially now days how everything is driven by ratings and “online hits.”

      • Baaly

        Let it be known that some, highly educated people on different forums are often guilty of just reading headlines and making very silly comments on that alone. Link bait is a great thing, but many people seem to have content blindness these days.

        Good job Allen. I think you proved a valid point.

  • rlsira

    Well, I guess GWB wasn’t such a bad president after all, if Obama said that.

  • Daniel Wright

    Kind of a dbag move. But they do have the same policies in many areas especially spying on Americans and Wall Street. So it’s kind of true even if it wasn’t really said.

    • revspyro

      Uh huh – did you read the article?

      • pkgsf96

        “So it’s kind of true even if it wasn’t really said.”

        yes. yes, I believe he did.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1220864123 Darlie Brewster


    • Crystal Car

      Did you read it? Ugh

  • gailillly

    my blood was coming to a boiling point about Obama praising Bush, As I read on I was getting madder and madder until I read the truth. I can’t stand that SOB GWBUSH and for Obama to praise him was just killing me. Thank God it is not the truth. I don’t know how anyone can like Bush after what he has done, the murdering SOB.

    • Everyonesenlightened

      What have you ever done with your life?

      • John Hess

        Well I certainly haven’t wrecked an economy and killed hundreds of thousands Iraqis in an unnecessary war. I suppose I just did not apply myself.

      • revspyro

        I didn’t vote for Bush and yet I and the rest of us who didn’t still got fucked.

      • hookw

        kinda like those of us NOW who dint vote for the Kenyan, ‘eh?

      • Michael Patterson

        ya except bush made it, obama just didnt stop it

      • Steph

        I’ve never lived in Kenya, so I’ve never had the opportunity to vote for one. What are their elections like?

    • Pa Gbla

      I think you probably could get off your BP meds if you gave up reading political articles:)

  • darryl

    This was a shameless a way to attract attention to your article. I see there is lots of advertising on this page and it actually separates your text which is outrageous. This is clearly more about the attention that the social commentary.

    • Crystal Car

      There is advertising on any site you write on. Don’t like it? Buy a book, it’s just as magazines are. So suck it up or move along…

  • Grant

    Why do people want to waste their time and ours with shit like this?? To make themselves feel higher and mightier? Even if he does have a point, by writing this he stoops to the same level as the headline reader. Raise yourself up and write something that provokes an original thought!

    • Crystal Car

      Or maybe, just maybe, He is trying to educate people so they may learn to look through. I took a test the same as another commentator said you had twenty questions they said read through and the last one was don’t answer. He’s just pointing out a flaw that everybody could fix by not being lazy.

  • Jenny Carter

    Allen I love to read your aticles. That was pretty funny. I couldn’t believe what you just wrote. You had me going for a minute. Thanks for the chuckle.

  • Christeth

    I thought this was funny when I first read it through, then I went back to FB and saw just how many comments were based upon the headline, maybe first few sentences alone and THAT is horrifying. I’m sure some people will get angry at having the idiot sign handed to them in this manner, but perhaps the lesson to be learned will stick with them a little better after this article. Bravo!

  • constitutionalist

    Thought maybe my browser had jumped to The Onion…..

  • Don

    Point made, but misdirected. It’s an appropriate critique of media, not the audience. The headline is the hook and the first paragraph is supposed to give the gist, supported with facts in following paragraphs. Hell will freeze before media stops writing “hooks”. Don’t blame the fish.

    • Joshington

      Very good point actually.

      I’ve read a ton of misleading headlines from Forward Progressive, that upon further reading reveal to be completely different.

      This article is a critique of itself as much as it is the audience.

      (PS I totally commented without reading the article on Facebook, and I totally stand by said speculative comment)

  • Peter

    Someone missed the day in their journalism class when they talked about the inverted pyramid writing style. Of course people skip off after the headline or the first paragraph. That’s why newspapers have been written the way they’ve been written for ages. The problem is when you expect your readers to read what has all the appearances of a newspaper article like it’s a critical essay.

    • revspyro


    • lurpy

      So, because many “journalists” make their stories more marketable for people with little to no attention span, not actually reading a story but forming a strong opinion about it anyway is justified.

      • Ruth Redfern

        Perhaps inattention is not justified – It is a fact! Look at the passing of the health care TAX. Most people don’t even realize that it is a new tax.

      • dancerboots

        That very few will be required to pay.

      • Coolpostbro

        Is having two legs instead of three justified? Some people that buy things have no attention span. Justification has nothing to do with it.

      • Peter

        It’s not about marketability, it’s about what a newspaper actually is and is used for. For hundreds of years before people clicked around on blogs, people needed to get the information they wanted and limit the time they spent. Newspaper writing evolved to support that. At this point it’s a centuries-old social contract between journalist and writer.

        The social contract between reporter and writer is that a reporter will write in away compatible with how newspapers are used. The inverted pyramid style emphasizes that you don’t ever write in such a way that the reader will leave misinformed if they stop reading at any point.

        Even for satire — read The Onion. You ever notice that the headline of every Onion article actually summarizes the joke, the first paragraph tells the joke, and everything that follows adds layers of details and context? It’s not factual but is a great example of now news writing should actually work (of course The Onion is a project of people who actually went to j-school)

        Nowadays any person with two cents and a blog writes column inches, but when they don’t understand HOW their writings will be read and how to convey information in terms of how people read, they do not qualify as journalists.

  • accuracy—>troll

    Nice! Certainly not your worst article ever.

  • Skeptopotamus

    This really doesn’t seem like the most time-efficient way for you to masturbate.

  • jessica

    I was about to fall off my chair. Thanks for the rattling of the brain. And thanks for remindingme to aalways read the full story. Always.

  • Katharina Sabel

    For a second I thought america had just completely gone mental :’)

    • Sc00t

      Too late 😉

  • Karen

    Well, the newer Republican crazies, by comparison, almost make GWB look like a reasonable person. Reagan now looks like a moderate Democrat, and Nixon looks like one of the more liberal presidents in our history. ‘s not GWB’s fault; the competition for horribleness is just become tough: NC legislature, Rick Perry, Scott Walker, reps. Who don’t believe rape can cause pregnancy . . . So while your statement is not true, maybe it could be close to reality.

    Also, the comment about actions being louder than words is true–I certainly haven’t seen Obama give back any of the executive power snatched by GWB.

  • Mike

    Took a test like this once..it had fifty questions. At the top of the page it said to read all they way through before answering…after reading the whole test it said to not answer questions, just sign it and turn it in blank. I was the only one out of twenty folks who passed.

    • Katharina Sabel

      That’s quite a nifty test 😛 I probably would have failed because I’m waaayyy to impatient and always want to jump head first into a problem/ assignment^^

    • Suzanne Lehman

      stunningly, I took the same test as a 4th grader back in 1977… the more things change the more they stay the same?

  • Mike Harrison

    “people will read the headline, make an assumption which they then seem
    to believe to be fact, then perpetuate that belief without ever once
    reading the article.”
    Off-topic, but the same is increasingly true with regard to emails in business relationships. My ISP (internet service provider)’s support team will almost always reply to an email’s subject line rather than taking the time to read the actual content. Same is true of other business people.
    It’s lazy, disrespectful, and causes more time than is necessary to get to the heart of the matter and solve it.

    • Michelle Todd

      I took a business writing class, and that is why we were taught that the subject line needs to give a clear idea of what you are talking about. It needs to make them WANT to actually read it. If you have 500-1000+ emails A DAY to read and respond to, as well as other work to attend to, are you really going to sit and read each and every one? Or are you going to find the important ones first?

  • julee

    Love this article…so very true! Thank you!

  • Faye Volcy

    I always read thoroughly before I form opinions or comment on articles. I was very skeptical of this eye catching article. That is why I read it in its entirety. Excellent point made! Thanks!

    • congrats

      here’s a cookie

      • Suzanne Lehman

        I want a cookie! I read it, too!!

  • sandyaj

    An interesting trick, i did find my self reading the full article since i didn’t see enough details in the header to prove it as true, of course the hannity line has me really saying you gotta be kidding. so i read the rest to see if there was a video or audio clip embedded to prove any of it. I’m from Missouri you gotta show me to prove it hehe.

    but yeah it is sad how a headline or a soundbit can be so misntrepreted with out the rest of the context being taken in, gotta wonder i this kinda laziness will eventually cause a decrease in actual intellegence down the line

  • Mike Harrison

    Another tool the media uses to get people to read the full article, but which has the same outcome as Allen’s example, is to phrase the headline as a question, for example, “Did Michelle Obama Spend Thousands in a Shopping Spree?”

    I’d venture a guess that about half the time (probably more), that line would be read and answered “yes” without reading or doing anything more.

    Our problem is ignorance, which is partially fed by misinformation and manipulation which, in turn, are partially caused by laziness, irresponsibility and the desire for instant gratification.

    The Internet makes it possible for anyone to publish almost anything. Anyone can buy an impressive looking/sounding website URL that can create the appearance of expertise. Information seekers bent on instant gratification want only to, essentially, press a button and be enlightened with the truth. They, the lazy, and perhaps gullible, will believe whatever they read simply because they “read it on the Internet.” They will then share their ‘knowledge’ with others of the same ilk. The foundation of the Fox News audience.

    If we don’t know that we don’t know, we will never know.

    • fauxsoup

      Actually, that tool is used for the exact opposite of the purpose you specify. It’s not an attempt to get them to read the full article, it’s a loophole that allows the organization to spread rumors without being accused of libel.

    • boatkitten

      I wish I could rate this up 1000 times.
      Shoddiness is the norm, I’m afraid.
      I’m even seeing this with amateur sports too — free bloggers that don’t follow any rules on authenticity or accuracy, but they are attracting the masses and the advertisers that have put the true reporters and all of their printed, permanent, accurate history right out of business.

  • EdwardWJones

    I thought is was a FRN story (fox republican network) they are known for missing it that much, and not even knowing it.

  • revspyro

    Yeah and then there is intellectual trolling – this article is as bad as when you read a video title that says “Republicans admit they are racist” and then it’s actually some video trying to convince you that the president is a communist. My favorite are the bullshit “satire” sites that report news only slightly skewed and in a manner that’s totally believable yet don’t claim anywhere, in an obvious manner, that they are fake. It’s all just new ways to troll.

  • first last

    a dangerous precedent in this country when millions of people are building their belief system and political ideologies based completely on what their families tell them to vote. THAT IS WHAT IS OUTRAGEOUS TO ME. FOR GOD”s SAKE PLEASE LISTEN to what is said AND THINK about it fully. SO MANY LAME BULLSHIT ON THE SURFACE ONE LINERS that people fall for hook line and sinker. FRUSTRATES ME TO NO END when they believe the marketing bullshit that is designed to deceive and manipulate. UNREAL – example FORD EDGE says it has 8 cupholders. yeah well yeah well 4 of them is a circle designed into a flat plastic bottom of the door panels. HELLOOOOOO no support ANYWHERE AROUND THE CIRCLE to hold the cup in place — simply a raised circle in the plastic. OK OK so that is their definition of a “cup holder” well yeah ok ok !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Dissenter13a

    This is why an author should take care to choose his headline carefully. The point of writing is to communicate, and you have to write with your intended audience in mind.

  • Donna

    I find this terribly cheap. A totally Cheap shot. One should’t be reading your titles either. If people read only the top, start with the most important thing at the top. Put the whole point in one sentence, if you are any good in writing. But you want us to read 5 pages of bla bla so we’ll see all the comercial. You wasted my time.

  • chucktowncrier

    Reading/hearing half of a story is a huge problem. It’s why this country is so divided, now. On many issues, republicans, democrates, liberals, libertarians, etc are fed up and pissed at the govt and big business. The theories of how to rid the problem is what’s different. If people would sit down and listen, compromise and change would begin to take place. Stop traveling a one way street!

    • Guest

      You just put out a misleading headline that possibly mislead a large portion of the people who read it into thinking Obama said those words. As your article stated, they might not read beyond the headline. This might be forgivable if the article sited facts or statistics backing up your claim that this is true. Instead you posted what I assume was your opinion with a misleading headline. Good work.

  • BarbB

    I think this is sooooo funny, not you Allen, but all of the Republicans that got their feelings hurt because they perceive you making fun of their Idol. They love to belittle, call names, be nasty and just plain mean. It comes out every time someone doesn’t like their party or ideals. You wrote the article correctly, they though have to hate anything “liberal” as they see it. I always read the whole article and then if I want to share it I start researching it thoroughly through trusted unbias sites. I see these things on facebook all the time, bashing Obama and 95% of the time they are downright lies…..yet they have the gall to bash you.

  • Pingback: 'Bush not as bad as people make him out to be' - US Message Board - Political Discussion Forum()

  • John Cross

    Mr Cliften, you have to make a decision about whether you want to be taken seriously or not. Satire is a very difficult thing to pull off and places like the Onion, etc., have a very hard time even when they do it full time. Frankly, I don’t have time to waste on satire, especially poorly executed satire. That’s why I read the article assuming it to be true only to be given a so-called “blah blah” lesson in reading. Seriously, why don’t you blank off with your stupid lessons? If reporters wrote correctly, with the inverted pyramid, you ‘wouldn’t need to read to the end and you shouldn’t have to. Learn some real journalism and journalistic values and people might take you seriously. Or, just do your so-called humor/satire bit and let us ignore you according to our tastes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Spencer-Leava/100000649387072 Spencer Leava

    HA! Now 100% proof that Bush was an amazing president. I am going to put this on all my HONEST forums filled with fox news watching reality facing true patriotic Americans! Now all this Kenyenian has to answer is where his birth certificate is (the real one, not the counterfeit one), and why he wants to destroy the entire constitution by stealing our guns!

    Now, normally, I wouldnt have to point out sarcasm here, but reading it over, it sounds a little to intelligent for the Palin crowd.

    • Mamacita Burrus

      wait…. theres more.

  • Taylor Hawkins

    This is not a satire piece. The pure fiction, which is the first half of your article can be likened to articles seen in the Onion. However, the majority of articles that the Onion writes are not satire pieces. The Onion itself is a satire of the news, which allows for it’s pure fiction pieces to be considered satirical due to context of the source. Pure fiction pieces are not satire in and of themselves. The first half of your article is a pure fiction piece, not a satire. As stated by others in these comments, you are proliferating falsehoods throughout the populace due to your lack of consideration for the gnat like attention span of your audience. When a news source is determined to be credible by a person, that person may choose to read the headlines, as they don’t have the time to read all of the news that interests them. However, if a person has found this website to be a credible news source and they choose to do this, they might find themselves proliferating falsehoods thanks to what several others have suggested here as poor journalism. The first half of your article would be a great piece to see in the context of a news satire such as the Onion. However, seeing it in a context that is intending to provide news is problematic. I understand it was used by you to prove a point, but many people will never read that point, because they are indoctrinated to a specific way of reading the news. The inverted pyramid is your friend sir, please become acquainted with it for all our sakes.

  • Kathy Gray

    I love my President and I believe that I know my President enough to know that this would not be something he would say, and it was that opinion which lead me to read the article, I was much relieved. It pays off to read, not only in articles and news, but in contracts and instructions, too many people just don’t want to read. How do you expect to be knowledgeable if you choose to be illiterate?

  • Brandi Herbold

    Thank you for a nice read! I was giggling by the end of the first paragraph and saying to myself “there’s no way this is true.” I’m glad that when I read something that sounds preposterous I continue reading. Thank you Mr. Clifton.

  • Gabe

    Unfortunately this is all too true. This country is so polarized right now and people only hear what they want to hear.

  • M. Smith

    Ha, the comments section amused me to no end. I think this one was my favorite:

    “I find this terribly cheap. A totally Cheap shot. One should’t be reading your titles either. If people read only the top, start with the most important thing at the top. Put the whole point in one sentence, if you are any good in writing. But you want us to read 5 pages of bla bla so we’ll see all the comercial. You wasted my time.”

    I think Allen rests his case here.

    That comment is a sad rationalization for being WILLFULLY lazy and ignorant. The author KNOWS what the inverted pyramid is, he’s commenting on how its flaws are easily manipulated (by literally SHOWING YOU how easy it is to manipulate YOUR perspective).

    It’s even sadder that there are several comments that are actually well-constructed by what appears to be fairly intelligent people who have still missed this point entirely. So many non sequiturs, arguments over semantics, and strawmans make up the bulk of their arguments as they ham-handedly attempt to discredit this article.

    Those of you who are defending the inverted pyramid clearly don’t understand what an “agenda” is. Ideally journalism should always tell the truth, but we know that is not often so, especially in the case of politics where opinions seemed to be swayed most often by feigned ethos and an overuse of pathos rather than logos (so yes, Aristotle would like to have a word with all of you).

    I’ve seen a lot of people here say that “We can’t stop link bait, etc.” Actually, we can, because link bait wouldn’t be used if we didn’t make it effective. It will take a culture shift, because yes, we have to actively change and actively process the information that is reaching our five senses (I know, God forbid you be asked to actively exert effort towards something as important as learning (notice I’m using the word “actively” a lot? I’m doing that for a reason, you know)).

    For those of you who spent your comment trying to debunk this article: Instead of constructing a garbage argument to defend ignorance and laziness because the article fooled you for a second, why don’t you use this as practical advice to actually pay attention to what you read.

    At least this particular example of headline abuse is doing so to inform you of its dangers, not sway your opinion because you “don’t have time” to check the facts and take some responsibility for your knowledge.

    • readandlikedyourfullpost

      I’m glad the comments section amused you.

      I’ll just assume the rest of your comment was about how amused you were.

      • M. Smith

        Ha! This genuinely made me laugh, you get a cookie ( : : )

  • TheBadApple

    Very true! It is unfortunate how hungry we are for short pieces of information with a lack of credible sources to back it up. The best ones are the dramatic titles on HP with no actual story line to back them up.

  • Andy Baker

    I don’t understand why people that report news are not held accountable for lies and.misleading information?

  • Andy Baker

    Fox news would do a lot more fact checking if they were given a hundred thousand dollar fine for every lie they tell!

  • http://scottrossi.tumblr.com scott rossi

    i was like @___@ until i got to the good part of the article, hahaha.

  • Nolan Schmit

    In addition to this identifying one of the most troubling problems with our acquisition of “facts,” this is a BRILLIANT way of getting more traffic to this website.

    We need to be willing to accept truth . . . whether it comes from the left or the right.

  • RJ Nelson

    I was actually worried tthat Obama had lost his marbles…

  • ddasd

    product of the 24 hour news cycle that thrives on immediate satisfaction

  • MT

    This article is shit.

  • Jeremy

    You’re talking about Confirmation Bias. People harbor beliefs, whether consciously or unconsciously, and they seek confirmation of those beliefs. Quick bites of information such as those we encounter in sound bites, headlines, and internet memes, allow us to confirm those beliefs by simply noting that somebody, somewhere, appears to share them with us. It’s not our only means of Confirmation Bias, but it’s probably the sort we encounter most often throughout our day. When we then comment on an article, based solely on the headline, without reading, we are revealing that bias.

  • atlantajason

    Completely agree. And it scares the heck out of me. We are too sensationalized.

  • disqus_6AeSbMRBY2

    As soon as I saw Limbaugh, Beck and Hannity quotes, I figured it out. Nice work, Mr Clifton; you’re one of the few online writers/bloggers I try to read every day. Nice work.

  • Tracy

    Wait..Paula Deen isn’t running for president? 😉

  • edgar twedt

    A newspaper editor once told me that the person who writes the story never writes the headline. The headline is written by someone else. No wonder so many “headline readers” get it wrong.

  • http://joycelansky.blogspot.com/ Joyce

    It definitely caught my attention. I’m glad I didn’t quit reading early on.

  • Monica

    I have to admit that I was sucked in until you referenced Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. But I read the entire article and I agree. Many people are lazy and don’t want to take the time to think for themselves.

  • Banzai

    Damn, and for a second I had a little hope of non-partisanship. Thanks for ruining my night, :)

  • Guest

    Interesting. I took the initial claims as believable, not because I was ready to believe any old Internet article, but because I believed it was a “political” thing for Obama to say. I also believed that Rush, FOX, and all the others would agree and take the opportunity to suck up, to bolster their credibility, for largely selfish reasons. So in a way, I did fall for it, but for a slightly different reason.

    Oh, and the idea that 30-40% of Facebook comments are going to be from those who will have never read the article? Yeah, I’m seeing that happen right now. :)

  • Aaron Levesque

    Love it. I’m glad I saw through the headline. I was like, nah, this can’t be true. I often find myself commenting on articles just to tell the commenters to actually read the article.

  • Bizmark

    Well, even if it was true it’s hardly praise to say someone is “not as bad as made out to be”. It’s actually pretty insulting.

  • Chad

    Uhhh…considering how Obama has expanded the wars overseas, continued bailing out American bankers, increased the power of the NSA, and has murdered Americans without trial — satire or not, this is completely true.

    Bush and him are very much cut from the same cloth.

    Absolutely ridiculous article. The “message” you were trying to send bombed completely. Total fail.

  • Adrianne Hilts

    Awesome job :) I think it is commendable that you did this. You are completely correct that too many people don’t read the entirety of an article and then decide to leave their very opinionated comments for the whole world to read. I don’t often read a lot of political stories, but when I do, I make sure I read the whole thing. Thank you again for writing this 😀

  • C-dub

    Try the same with headlines from MSNBC, NY Times, etc… Headlines are used to draw a viewer to a consumer product that is in existence to make money. Singling out Fox news is ridiculous.

    • http://willconley.info/ Will Conley

      Incorrect. End of debate.

  • maku520

    Maybe if “journalists” knew how to actually write a good article, I would read more than just their headlines.

  • TMakonnen

    It’s likely Obama would actually say this; he has perpetuated-even doubled down-on some of the worst repressive Bush policies. Think drone bombing, indefinite detention, repressing rights, warrantless spying. The worst thing is not basing opinions on insufficient information. It’s defending a politician who acts egregiously, but who happens to be on your “side”. Signed: A lifelong Progressive who voted for Obama but can no longer abide the stench of Authoritarian oppression.

    • dancerboots

      There is no such thing as “indefinite detention” nor any such words in the NDAA. Unfortunately, it is what has occurred under military law and a Congress that will not declare the war on terrorism over. Military law needs to be changed as it was written for conventional wars. Hopefully our country will never engage in these kinds of wars again. We lose.Our enemy do not fight that way…and in my opinion… why drones will continue to be used to save troops lives. Under military law, an enemy caught in the act of hostility (battle) is detained in a POW camp without trial until the war is declared over and released. I have read the Detainee Matters in the NDAA many times and followed the (mainly) misinformed media pieces/commentaries about the sections referring to one group, our enemy, Al Qaeda.

      President Obama gave an amazing speech several weeks ago asking Congress to give the presidency less power to wage war by repealing the AUMF (Authorization For The Use of Military Force). This was passed a few weeks after 9/11/2001 and gave unprecedented power to the President to wage war against Al Qaeda and the Taliban (since removed from the list of enemies). The President also ask Congress to declare the war on terrorism over. He didn’t stop there. He ask Congress, once again, for the funds to close Gitmo and the funds to transfer the detainees out. These funds were allotted to President Bush. Five hundred detainees were transferred to their country of origin to be tried during the G.W. Bush Administration.

      The worst thing is basing your opinion on misinformation and accepting it without more evidence. What is egregious is that is how many cast their vote and information is right at our fingertips. The use of drones/indefinite detention/warrant-less spying/repressing rights is a perfect example of accepting what the media would like for you to believe that has nothing to do with journalism and investigative reporting.

  • http://johnturmel.com John C. Turmel, B. Eng.

    Jct: Since Obama’s been worse, Bush can’t be so bad, can he?

  • Lyn Faulkner Princevalli

    I always read your articles all the way through, as I do most things, because I know there is always more than a headline and I never really thought about it until you pointed the fact out that others don’t. How incredibly stupid!

  • Kevin

    Theres a difference between “satire” and a 7 year old saying theres a bug on your shoulder and when you look and see no bug the 7 years old says “made you look”. I think this “writer” might be 8

  • guest also

    Yea, it’s a good article and all… You say both liberals and conservatives do it yet point out Fox News a few times. Couldn’t help but notice that.

    • http://willconley.info/ Will Conley

      Because Fox News is fucking bullshit, not conservative.

  • Kristy Premer

    Great article!!!

  • Tarot

    Having worked computer helpdesk for more than a decade, a very great many of the “problems” that people used to call for my help to deal with were “What does this error mean?”

    Reading comprehension — I don’t know if it’s cultural, or if humans are just mostly dumb, but Americans, at least, fail at it.

  • larry91403

    This might be satire today but I bet you a Mitt Romney’s $1000 that President Obama will say something similar to this at some point.

  • Carefulreader

    Because I tend to read everything to the end, and because I think I know our president, I did not believe it for even a moment! Speed readers of headlines are what most people are; this is our biggest problem with the media. They print something even a little bit true in the headline and leave the rest to the talking heads to make it even more true.

  • Flerquebfn Harseeuithmr

    Its what drive me nust about the media and politics: Armies of people who believe they’re informed because they’ve read part of a story and then go on to formulate opinions based on the skimpiest of information.

  • Keen

    Writing a deceptive headline IS deception, even if you did it to prove a point. With too much stuff to read, of course people skim headlines, and you can’t blame them for doing so. Please don’t ADD to the problem!

  • Paul

    President Obama is a good father and husband.

  • Forrest

    The “news” is already screwed up enough without all the satirical pieces to start with even if they do have a disclaimer. If people actually took the time and spent the energy to actually report news instead of junk like this things would be much better. And yes, I am an entire article reader.

  • http://www.tpteq.com/ Tony Pirog

    Ignorance is bliss. It’s also destructive.

  • gremmie69

    Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if Fox News did praise Obama. He is not a progressive Democrat. He is a half step to the left of Richard Nixon. I guess Fox News would be calling Nixon a liberal if he was still around.

  • Ingram

    “It seems millions of people are having their political ideologies built based on only headlines. They’re rarely reading many of these articles to find out if the information is credible.” – This is so true, in a world in which tweets fly by the billions it seems to be that reading anything longer than 160 characters, has becomed a daunting task.

  • ObamasAneolib

    The author should have done some research. On his recent Africa trip, Obama DID praise Bush. At the dedication of the Bush Library, he praised Bush again. So actually, without knowing it, the author managed to say something accurate.

    • http://epiphanyproject.wordpress.com/ Timothy Matias

      I do remember reading about that, but I had forgotten about that. You’re exactly right, and I think that’s why (subconsciously) I was initially predisposed to believe it…that is until reading about conservative media puppets praising him- that’s when I knew the author was just B.S.ing us 😛

  • http://www.edwinfirmage.com Edwin Firmage, Jr.

    Obama’s full of shit if he truly believes this.

    • filmantopia

      1) That doesn’t make any sense. He would be full of shit if he *didn’t* believe it but said it anyway.

      2) You missed the point of the article.


  • Anon

    I’d just like to point and laugh at the people who commented before reading the entire article. I for one read both the article and at least 20-30 comments before forming a solid opinion and commenting myself. Sometimes I don’t even post an opinion. After all, you know what they say about opinions. “Like an *ssh*le, everyone’s got one. But some of them really do smell like SH*T”

  • Joseph Emerson

    Okay, you got me. It is satire. Even if he DID laud Bush Jr. the way as suggested in the piece, the Republicans would still want Obama put through the wringer, left politically impotent, impeached, or worse.

  • Robert

    Our government uses the same system. Look at the nice friendly sounding names of bills and then read the bill and what it actually does. 9 times out 10 the bill does the exact opposite of its name. It is done on purpose to fly under the radar of the public and any political opposition. Take the Affordable Care Act for example. How many politicians voted yes to pass it, never having read it, and based solely on it’s title? I would bet almost all of them. That is why they rushed to push it to vote and get it passed before they had a chance to read it. Had it been read, they would have discovered all the hidden goodies in it, realized how unaffordable it really is and quite likely it would have been voted down by at least a small margin. This same strategy is being used much more frequently in Congress with party leaders blocking any debate and calling for votes on bills sometimes only minutes after they’ve been released. You can bet (no matter which party is doing it) the less they want to talk about it and the quicker they want it put to a vote, the worse the bill is for the people and the country. The Patriot Act and the Affordable Care Act are just 2 examples of many.

    • dancerboots

      The Affordable Healthcare Act is paid for. In fact, it raises revenue.
      When Boehner ask the CBO to calculate the effect if Obamacare was repealed, the estimation was a $109 billion dollar deficit over a ten year period. Still, they continue to attempt its repeal. The Congressional Budget Office is a highly respected non-partisan organization that Congressional members use when introducing legislation and its financial impact. Obamacare was not rushed through, It took over a year to pass it. Repeating it wasn’t read or pushed through has no basis in fact….no matter what Pelosi said. Senators are the only ones that can block debate, this usually results in the “killing of a bill”. Bills introduced in the chambers go through sub-committees and then onto the Committee. Boehner and Harry Reid have quite a bit of power in just what bills will be brought to the floor for a vote. Boehner has been stymied by the Hastert rule and the entrenched Tea Party members.

  • The Spy Which Is Purple

    I wouldn’t put it past Obama to make a remark like that, but yes at least i read it through.

  • http://epiphanyproject.wordpress.com/ Timothy Matias

    I fell for this article at first, but I don’t appreciate the (invalid) claim by the
    article writer (Allen Clifton) that I was fooled by the headline. The whole first half of the article was B.S.; additionally, even if Obama hasn’t directly said he agrees with the Bush administration’s policies, his actions have continually supported Bush on every major issue. If the article writer (Allen) doesn’t realize this, he’s the real fool :/

    Furthermore, I knew the article was B.S. once they started talking about Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh supporting Obama. Even if Obama had admitted that he supports the Bush administrations policies, Conservative puppets like those two would never praise Obama for it. On the contrary, they would find some way to use such statements to criticize him, accusing him of hypocrisy or being “fake”, or of desperately wanting to appease the conservatives. That’s when I knew the article was B.S., but truth be told, if Obama was smart, he’d be more transparent about his moderate political leanings- that would actually work to his advantage had he done so from the start. it’s a little late for that now though 😉

  • Robert Martin

    You’ve proven yourself right Allen. The first 4 comments on the Facebook post for this article were only about the headline and it was obvious that no one read the entire article. Yeesh. And we progressives want to be taken seriously? When you can’t take the time to read the article then WHY engage in discussion?

  • Josh

    You didn’t “manipulate” anyone you just lied. There’s a difference. I agree with your overall point.

  • wecandobetter758

    Excellent article, well done. I’ve noticed the same thing, on both sides of the spectrum. It is particularly disheartening to see how many “news” outlets practice this deceptive tactic in order to sway public opinion.

  • Roberta Wolff

    I used to keep this posted on the wall of my office (I was a professional mediator). It seems more and more appropriate over the years: “I know that you believe you understand what you think I said; however, I am not sure you realize that what you heard was not what I meant.”

  • anarchitek

    I read in the 2,000 wpm range, and have been a reader for more than 50 years now. Not merely ABLE to read, but a discerning reader, who knows what is good and valuable and what is tripe. That said, there is FAR MORE than I can keep up with. Perhaps that is why so many prefer videos, because they feel overwhelmed by the flood of information. By watching, they can multi-task, even if it is only to play a game on another console, while the video is scrolling. That said, headlines were devised to ATTRACT readers, NOT to mislead them. Just because a FEW newspapers and Fox (it’s NOT the) News tend to skew their headlines to promote whatever sick and twisted agenda is at the top of their sewer pile that day, does not indict the full spectrum of headlines as BAD. I read headlines, to KNOW if I care to read any further, In today’s 15-minutes-of-fame age, that’s the norm, just to stay current. If we each took time to READ EVERY STORY, to determine HOW to decide on them, we would NOT get much accomplished! Plain fact. So, take your hand off your back, and STOP being “part of the problem” and SEE if you cannot become “part of the solution”, instead. Maybe you can’t, and writing crap to put down others is all you are capable of, after all, but UNTIL you try, you (and WE) won’t know, for sure. Let’s see what happens, when you put your mind to it!

  • RonTakeOne

    It wouldn’t surprise me if Obama actually said this since Obama is simply Bush on steroids.

  • dancerboots

    I believe President Obama reaped praise on President Bush at the dedication of his Library.. G.W.Bush was not who I voted for. He did do some good things. It was his administration that initiated the loan programs for renewable energy that President Obama expanded on. President G.W. Bush was instrumental in sending relief aid to combat AIDS in Africa. No president is completely responsible for what occurs on his watch. Congress has 535 members that have incredible power to assist this country on the right path. I suspected the headline because it didn’t sound like something President Obama would say if ask such a question. He has too much tact..sometimes misinterpreted as spineless. He may go after Congress or a Party as a whole but rarely does he target one particular person.

  • Pingback: Forward Progressives — SHOCKING! DID YOU READ this HEADLINE? Good, Now Please Read the Story()

  • Michael David Barber Moghul

    Your tactics suck and you suck as a journalist.

  • Blobulent Republican

    The crap’s piled so high now, that the article doesn’t even really stand out. It could run on Fox………gotcha…….Now, back to journalism magoo.

  • Lance W.

    But when you hold Bush up against Reagan, he looks halfway decent.

  • Sharon Stillson

    Meh. One more fake news story. Like adding turds to the toilet

  • Michael Varian Daly

    Mass Democracy has failed largely because the average citizen is usually not willing to do, and is often not even intellectually capable of, the ‘heavy lifting’ required to be a truly Informed Voter.

  • Michael Varian Daly

    Mass Democracy has failed largely because the average citizen is usually not willing to do, and is often not even intellectually capable of, the ‘heavy lifting’ required to be a truly Informed Voter.

  • Dave

    Wow….felt my blood pressure going up, then got to the part about the truth of people not reading the articles. We live in a society of INSTANT gratification and I think this has transformed into all aspects….including not taking time to even read an article…..pretty sad.

  • Laura Mynatt Reynolds

    I actually sat there for a minute with a brick in my stomach thinking “OMG he’s lost his mind!” LOL…very good and accurate article though!

  • sbd

    While I could imagine President Obama, a courteous gentleman, saying that Bush “wasn’t as bad a president as people make him out to be,” the moment I read that Obama supposedly stated that Bush “did a lot of great things for our economy, national security and national debt” I knew this had to be a hoax. That line reads like something from The Onion, which BTW I love.

  • Rusty Horn

    It was more like 75% on someone’s repost of this piece on FB…

  • adawitchy2u

    Oh no truer word were ever spoken and a great testimony to this is reading comments … good job.

  • lacrossestar83

    SEE?? BUSH and 0BAMA are EXACTLY the SAME because NEITHER of them are named RAND PAUL

  • Guest

    Wait a minute… So I get to the end only to find that
    1) it isn’t true
    2) it isn’t even satire
    3) it’s an opinion piece about your personal gripe

    And to top it off you’re asking me to “share” it. Were you trying to make me regret reading past the headline? Is that where the satire comes in?

  • Tom Czerniawski

    I’m embarrassed by how close I came to making a snarky comment without reading the whole thing. A habit I’ll have to break myself of 😉

  • LindaK

    I agree. However, much worse than the paltry level of intellect and thinking evidenced by the comment on the various pages which post satirical articles are the number of administrators of supposedly progressive fb pages who actually post these articles as “actual news stories” for their blithering readership to consume.

  • Bill

    Brilliant!!, and very true as I have seen this myself all too often of late.

  • Bob

    So what you’re saying is that even though you don’t normally do so, you wrote a satirical inflammatory article to see who would complain about it? You even threw multiple disclosures in there?

  • http://born-stubborn.livejournal.com syndicalist702

    I found it credible because Obama’s behavior lately is so similar to Bush’s…so, quite frankly, I wasn’t shocked at all. Sue me.

  • Michael Godfrey

    You convinced me until you started suggesting right wing commentators praised Obama. They would instead accuse him of being weak and flip-flopping (if that’s a US verb). But yes, your point stands: the nanosecond grab is information, and analysis is so, so passe.

  • I Once Was Andrew

    What did I tell you about the satire, Clifton? Leave it to the satirists;

  • glorrierose

    I am constantly amazed at the number of people who will spout off the tops of their heads in response to a headline without ever even clicking on the link to read the article, much to their chagrin when I pull quotes out of the very same article that totally contradict their arguments.

    And then there are people who ask questions that would be answered if they would just read past the first paragraph!

  • Echo Moon

    your a sneaky bugger!!! but truthful and observant! ~sigh~

  • Marco

    So many “amurikans’ are stupid and lazy- and they always have been.

  • Wanda

    Had me too, shared it, can’t wait for responses! And you are so right about this!

  • Common sense

    You had me scared for a second… Don’t do that!!! 😉

  • Pete Chun

    Before being allowed to leave a comment, I think people should have to check a box or sign something at the end of an article that states they read the entire thing and understood it. Maybe take a comprehension test and pass with a 90%, if not 100%.

  • Philthy B Lee


  • Yooperman

    Hahahahaa… now that is clever. Thanks for the education. :-)

  • http://lady-die.deviantart.com/ LizzyJessie

    To be fair, there is a lot of information that’s out there with very limited time to digest it all. People who have grown up using the internet have learned to filter out a lot of stuff to try to get at the meat of a subject.

    It’s just how our brains work. When there’s too much going on, we tend to naturally focus on a small area and miss out out on what’s going on outside of our viewpoint. Like that experiment when an audience was tasked with counting the number of times a ball was passed between players. Most people will completely miss a guy in a gorilla suit walk in, do a dance in the middle of the action, then pass through.

  • mariakenez

    Well, I have mixed feelings about this kind of thinking. For instance I insist that the title of an article should have to do with the main idea. It is true that lately this is not always the case, however, there are rules and guidelines about that and good journalists follow them. No writer, especially one of the caliber of the author of this article should expect people to read their entire article. (This article has many errors and those alone turn off the reader.) Additionally, what the article is trying to convey, although true, can be attained in a shorter way. There is an enormous amount of material to read in general, that includes even things like terms of use for a software, or a website. Do you read those completely? The reader does not have the time, or the attention span to gobble writings indiscriminately. Now, if you had patience to read my post, thank you. .

  • Terry Major-Holliday

    As soon as I read the “quote” from Rush Limbaugh, I was saying, “…wait a minute….”

  • Sucker for Propaganda

    What waste of time. You tricked me into reading a bullshit article. Only to slip in your bullshit opinion at the end to jam it down everyone’s throat anyway.

  • MarkBousquet

    Does this phenomenon have a lot to do with people developing ADD from being on Facebook all the time?

  • Starnexus

    So true. I was stunned until I saw that the republicans were praising him since even if he had said those things they’d still find something to criticize him on. I must admit I’ve been guilty of the very thing this article is talking about but thanks to it I will be more diligent in the future.

  • Melvis

    It’s like so many that say the King James Bible is the Holy word of god, yet have never read it…

    see a pattern?

  • Marilyn Olsen Scheffler

    I love this!! I know SO many people who do just that—read the headlines and then pass it on as the absolute truth! I must admit that I was quite shocked thinking that ANYONE on Fox news would declare their love for Obama!

  • Libertarians > Right + Left

    Low Information Voters: How bad politicians get elected. Pathetic lot we’ve become. Idiocracy is quickly becoming reality.

  • Eric Susee

    LOLOLOL!!!!! I was like, “NO FUCKIN” WAY!!!!, and then I got to the next part. You’re absolutely right. I’m always getting posts on my timeline from folks who read the headline and share it without a clue to the context of the article. I really hate the misleading sensationalistic headlines that I see. You know the ones. “SHOCKING!” etc.

  • Alexandra Leigon

    The only security our democratic republic really has is an informed electorate. If we don’t have that, we can kiss our rights goodbye! Individuals who don’t read beyond the headlines or don’t think critically about the information they are receiving cannot be informed. It takes only a few minutes nowadays to search Wikipedia or Google for the name of the author of an article to see who or what s/he is connected to and what their political leanings are. Using that information to guide our perception of what they have written or said can go a long way toward helping us clarify the intentions behind the headlines. Or, as Mr. Clifton points out, we could just read the entire article before we jump to conclusions. How novel! It has become basic media procedure to bark out headlines that stir the emotions, because it helps sell the media source and bring in the bucks. We, the People, who own and run this country, have to put in a little time to counteract this process if we want to be effective participants in our democracy. For of those to whom much is given, much is required.

  • Pjs8200

    I started reading this wondering if Obama had lost his mind. When I got to Hannity, I thought this is just complete bullshit….thankfully.
    The only side I want to see people on is the side of doing what’s right for everyone and truth, whether it hurts or not.
    Unfortunately I noticed the very same thing with a lot of these online comments…it’s really pretty pathetic.

  • R.Nelson

    In these times when folks have to work 2-3 jobs and keep up their homes, etc., we don’t all have time to read an entire article or watch a half-hour video. Journalism is about answering the five W’s and being clear and concise, even in headlines. It’s disappointing to be deceived by a headline, and a good reason to view the source of such a deception with cynicism.

  • Digitoxin

    Oh wow, I never knew American journalists were so good at fabricating stories for a reaction.

  • Jeremy Jones


  • Diana Holcomb Evans

    My jaw dropped and a big WHAT!! came out. What did I miss? and then I read the whole article. You are funny but so right.

  • George Mitchell

    Red flags started to go up at Limbaugh, and by the time I read Hannity’s quote, I was scrolling around… “Is this a satire piece?”

    Good one.

  • Sater Felix K.

    haha great article… halfway through reading it, I was like “Has hell frozen over and is the devil giving free sleigh rides?” Well done sir! 😀

  • Rita M Nicholson

    I enjoy reading your articles. Keep up the great work.

  • jcie316

    Love this. I actually believed it was something Obama would say – he’s always willing to give credit where credit is due. And let’s be honest….George W. Bush WORST President in history? To think that you clearly know nothing about Andrew Johnson or Warren G. Harding. Then again maybe starting a war based on falsified intelligence really is worse.

    Anyway, I completely agree with this article. Headlines and talking points are all that inhabit some people’s brains – it just further entrenches the idea that we should be governing based on ideology and “beliefs” instead of actually evaluating policies based on facts.

  • Margo

    im still going to use it to laugh out loud

  • Mathematicaster

    Lost me below the jump…

  • http://goingsenile.blogspot.com/ Tony Kessler

    For me it is quite the opposite, I have fallen for a spoof or two, I learned my lesson. Frankly, some of the parody articles I read from places like The Onion, print such believable articles, it is hard to discern the truth. I have reposted BS before because I only read the headline. Now, when I see a headline that is difficult to belive or could be controversial I have to read it.

  • emeraldeyes24

    Hahahaha… Obama : “Just kidding, you see if I say he’s a good president, Republicans will say “Let’s get that bastard tried for war crimes”!” MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

  • hsmom2004

    I think one of the biggest issues is information overload. There is so much information that people have a hard time looking beyond the headline.
    I, too, have seen numerous satirical articles that people have shared as fact, and been astounded because if you use any critical thinking and reason, you realize it is not true. Perhaps many people were not taught critical thinking in school as I was?

  • clr1390

    Americans are a laughing stock to the rest of the world.

  • Santa

    I feel that journalists, editors of online media and bloggers (not that the these are always separate) have a responsibility not to write misleading headlines for this reason. Don’t blame the consumers, go to the root of the problem.

  • stevenbradford

    Ahhh. The lost art of the lead–something this writer appears to have never heard of.

  • http://kylebumpus.com/ Kyle Bumpus

    Meh, I agree with the premise that this is a problem but disagree with the conclusion. Facebook, Twitter, etc are BUILT for people to make snap judgements based on superficial details. People are just using the internet naturally. This is more an argument for journalistic integrity than anything else. It’s easier to regulate the source than expect consumers to suddenly start reading every news story that pops up on their news feed. There aren’t enough hours in the day. Is it really WRONG for them to form a conclusion based on the title alone? I don’t think so. It’s both natural and reasonable. It’s the journalists who should be castigated.

    I can think of a few political sites on both sides of the spectrum that are HORRIBLE about this. Think Progress on the left and Breitbart on the right immediately jump to mind. I’ve actually called out Think Progress about it a few times on Twitter and the response I got was along the lines of “our goal is to spread the truth, not be a responsible news source.” At least they admit it…

  • Just Jeanette

    Why let actually reading something get in thd way of believing a god, snappy headline. Isn’t that what bold font headlines are for; time saving devices so we don’t need to waste our “precious” facebooking time on actually reading?
    Scary, isn’t it?

  • Robin DeAnne Lowry Seer

    When I got to glen Becks “so-called” quote, I was literally reading with my mouth hung open! However, you are right that both sides only seem to read the headlines at times! Good on you….maybe more will read the entire article.

  • Robin DeAnne Lowry Seer

    When I got to glen Becks “so-called” quote, I was literally reading with my mouth hung open! However, you are right that both sides only seem to read the headlines at times! Good on you….maybe more will read the entire article.

  • Catherine Maxwell

    In total agreement! The sad fact is that with our “toss-away “, immediate gratification culture most people just glance at things and then move on, confident that they have understood an article or concept. This might be ok for intelligent, scholarly folks who read other things in depth, but for the knucklehead, low-brow types this is a catastrophe! They would be hard pressed to understand the complexity of certain ideas and statements even if they had the patience to read them through over and over again. This is what has snagged the likes of Sarah Palin and many of the Tea Party cohort. Don’t know of any solutions to this as there is no obvious reward to reading and researching things completely other than getting oneself educated. On the contrary these folks have gotten a lot of publicity with their modest grasp of things and been able to do a lot of rabble rousing by just reading the Cliff Notes hahaha.

  • Joebobjones

    As soon as I began reading this I was suspect, but then again it’s possible, right? Even Josef Stalin, Goebbels and Pol Pot loved holding hands, sunsets and puppies…