Thursday, June 23, 2005
These pictures of Justice Scalia accompanied the headline, "Supreme Court Rules Cities May Seize Homes" in 3 separate areas of Yahoo News "Most Popular" section even though Scalia sided with the dissenting minority
Call me biased, call me irrational but something caught my eye today. The story about the Supreme Court's ruling on the 5th Amendment "takings" case (Kelo v. New London) will get a lot of attention from readers on the Yahoo News website. In fact, as of 1:25pm ET it is, by far, the most e-mailed news article of the day ( Sent 4,269 times as of this writing while #2 has been sent 1, 027 times and # 3 has been sent 677 times).
Tens of thousands of people peruse the Yahoo News website every day. When they check out the "Most Popular" list and scroll down they will scan over a headline that says, "Supreme Court Rules Cities May Seize Homes" with a picture of a smiling Justice Scalia next to the headline. Justice Scalia and the other like-minded conservative justices, Rehnquist and Thomas (and O'Connor) were the dissenting minority.
The question is why did Yahoo News make the editorial decision to use Scalia as the smiling face of what could be, and should be, an unpopular and frightening decision for American homeowners. The problem is that people who see the headline immediately assume that Scalia's photo means he voted with the majority or that he in fact, wrote the deciding opinion. In fact, the article does not even mention Rehnquist, Scalia and Thomas. Justice Stevens wrote the majority opinion, Yahoo News should have his picture on the main "Most Popular' page, the "Most Popular Highlight" feature and in the article itself.
Yahoo News may seem an innocuous website that merely "presents" the news. But this analysis shows how facts can be presented in a way that misprepresent the truth.
Other opinions: Outside the Beltway, Buzz Blog, Buzz Blog, SoCalPundit, Prof. Bainbridge, Commonwealth Con, Llama Butcher, and Malkin.