SHOCK: HuffPo’s headlines need help

The headlines at The Huffington Post are like those in a New York tabloid. They’re often eye-catching and sensational. There’s a generous use of ALLCAPS and the “SHOCK:” start.

HuffPo’s headlines are often misleading and overreaching. Even those who share the site’s liberal politics have noted this tendency to bait and switch. The headlines are also riddled with cliches.

This one about Rand Paul illustrates these problems. Here’s why:

  • First, “15 minutes” is a tired reference. Even Andy Warhol said he was sick of it.
  • Second, the headline is deceptive. My reading of it was that Mitch McConnell wanted Paul off the ballot, gone and forgotten as a footnote in political history. But the story itself indicates that McConnell simply wants Paul to focus more on campaigning in Kentucky and less on appearances in the national media.

HuffPo has experimented with crowdsourcing headlines. It’s an interesting idea. Maybe the readers could have come up with a better one than this one.



  1. Disturbingly, the publisher of the Washington Post wishes her newspaper had headlines like the Huffington Post’s.

    “Crowdsourcing” headlines is not a practical option. The answer is hiring professionals who know how to write headlines.

  2. It’s a very slapdash affair over there. They move too quickly and they have such an influx of traffic that they don’t have to ponder headlines. They are shoveling coal and trying to stay on the tracks.

    Headlines matter more for smaller blogs, in my opinion.

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