“Limbaugh Marries For Fourth Time.”
Such was the heading in a recent USA Today sidebar article.
So, what’s wrong with this?
In three sentences, the piece describes Rush Limbaugh’s wedding to Ms. Kathryn Rogers in West Palm Beach. Harmless copy, indeed.

A couple years back, I wrote about a newspaper headline in Cincinnati which read:

“White Cop Shoots Black Suspect.” It wasn’t until you got into the meat of the story that the reader discovered the officer(s) were shooting back at a suspect who was shooting at them, thus it was a self defense, justifiable act.

I wondered to myself: If the racial equation was any different, would the headline have read “Black Cop Shoots White Suspect?” … Or… “Black Cop Shoots Black Suspect?”

Well, we all know the answer to that. Fact is, the headline immediately incites anti-police sentiment among minorities that are generally inclined to dislike cops to begin with. It is a subtle way of suggesting an act of “racism” had been committed by law enforcement, unless the reader chooses to read the entire story…which does not always happen.

Deliberate or not, news channels and newspapers have enormous power over citizens by installing subliminal messages. By doing so, folks do not even realize their thought patterns are being manipulated.

The 2008 presidential campaign serves as a gross example of media-mind manipulation. An editorial written by Obama was gladly published in the left-leaning New York Times, while another editorial by right-leaning John McCain was submitted to the same paper, but never published.

The gushing news anchors from all three major networks traveled with Obama during his European visits, covering his every charismatic speech and behind the scenes repartee, while none traveled with John McCain to feature his strengths.

And the people never noticed. Regardless of Obama’s two autobiographies, an enormous number of questions still lingered about Obama’s secretive history, including the conspicuous absence of college records, his ties to extremists and close associations with sordid anti-Americans, all of which begged questions about his loyalty as an American leader. These issues are still unresolved, in the minds of millions.

So, what does this have to do with “Limbaugh Marries For The Fourth Time?”

The headline could have read, “Rush Limbaugh Marries Woman From West Palm Beach.” However, the reader will now zero in on “For The Fourth Time,” as though that is the issue that defined the event. Some, not all, readers will read no further and judge Rush Limbaugh accordingly; a man who has failed in three past marriages. So…what’s one more? A history of bad decisions. So much for the credibility of Rush Limbaugh.

Frankly, I’m not a big fan of Limbaugh though I agree with many of his political points of view. I rarely listen, because I find him pompous and predictable.

But we should all be aware of how our mental images are being molded by a few words in the title of a story, that really isn’t the story at all.