Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Paul Soglin succumbs to Misleading Catchy Headline Syndrome

One of the occupational hazards of blogging is Misleading Catchy Headline Syndrome (MCHS). We’re all prone to it. After all, we’re competing for eyeballs here, trying to score some clicks and book some page views. Who can resist adding a little extra hype, a little sizzle, a little bait-and-switch? Probably not Madison Guy. And certainly not Paul Soglin.

The title of his post today definitely caught my eye:

Environmentalists Trash Madison Rights-Of-Way With Signage.

“Et tu, environmentalists!” I lamented. “Oh, no -- how could they sink so low? Not the environmentalists! What have they done now? We sure as hell better make them stop -- damn hypocrites!” My blood pressure sure was rising.

Then I saw what he was writing about.

Now come environmentally friendly organizations like the Wisconsin Bicycle Federation with one of the most massive sign pollution efforts in Dane County history. The safety campaign is meritorious; its method questionable.
The Ghost Bikes campaign? These signs aren't clutter. They're more like traffic signs people actually pay attention to. It all goes to show -- MCHS creeps up on its victim in stages:
1) Distort somewhat to even get the word “environmentalists” into the headline. Leave out that the “Ghost Bike” campaign is really about safety, not the environment.

2) Add a paragraph hyping the headline to your estimable but not otherwise eye-catching post about signage clutter. Crank up the volume with “environmentally friendly organizations like the Wisconsin Bicycle Federation” and “one of the most massive sign pollution efforts in Dane County history.”

3) Retire to bed with your blog fever and your traffic stats.
Fortunately, MCHS -- not to be confused with a former Madison high school that no longer exists -- is not a serious illness. More like a one-day flu. The prognosis for Soglin is excellent, and he can be expected to resume his usual high standards at Waxing America soon.


Echo said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Echo said...

Woops! For a minute there, I succombed to brushing through a website - Waxing America - without reading carefully. Talk about mis-leading headlines or seeing what you want to see. For a minute I thought he was actually a Coulter-backer...


Mauricio Babilonia said...

Not to mention that the Bike Fed called (as planned) on the same volunteers who put the signs up to take them back down today. I suspect you'll have trouble finding one tomorrow. So much for GhostBikes being "one of the most massive sign pollution efforts in Dane County history."