Technically Accurate and Useless

The other day during an argument on Twitter, a reporter told me that his exceptionally misleading headline was "technically accurate." I retorted that that was true, but it was also useless.

Note that, it's almost certain that the reporter himself did not write the headline. He merely defended it.

"Headlines," according to the journalism school at North Dakota State University, "need to be accurate, first, and to fairly reflect the theme of the story." A headline that lures you in by promising something and failing to deliver is called, "Clickbait" - and it is a cheesy trick of those without ethics.

Here's my point about technically correct but useless in the form of an old joke.

A helicopter pilot is flying one passenger around Seattle, and suddenly they get fogged in. The GPS isn't working. The pilot sees a big, flashy office building nearby so he goes over and hovers very close to the windows. A crowd gathers inside the building, with workers looking at the chopper.

The pilot takes a big piece of paper and writes, "Where am I?", then presses it against the cockpit glass so the people inside can see it. Some workers squint to read it, then they discuss it, get a piece of paper, write something on it and press it against the glass. It reads, 'You are in a helicopter!'

The pilot gives them a smile and a jaunty salute, turns to a heading of 223 degrees, and heads straight for Boeing Field, where he lands, uneventfully, two minutes later.

"But," says the astonished passenger, "How did you suddenly know where we were?"

"Oh," says the pilot, "As soon as they told me that I knew I was at Microsoft headquarters - because what they told me was technically accurate, yet totally fucking worthless."



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Technically Accurate And Totally Useless - August 5, 2016 -