The Christian Science Monitor is a major newspaper, but the disjunct between the headline and the text on an article about predatory control issues is classic.

This kind of contradiction between headline and text is one reason I often rewrite the headline on linked story.

“With predator populations rising, more calls for control. Western states grapple with how to address an increasing threat to livestock from wolves and big cats.” By Brad Knickerbocker. Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor.

When you read it you will find that only predator populations specifically mentioned to be rising are cougars in Oregon and wolves in the Northern Rockies, and the text is quite balanced between those who worry about it and those who want to protect these large carnivores.

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Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

2 Responses to Example how headline does not match story

  1. avatar Linda Hunter says:

    Oregon hasn’t counted it’s cougars but I believe they extrapolate the numbers based on sighting reports. . which is really interesting because just across the river from Oregon where I live I have discovered by tracking that cougars are not much more numerous . . they have just moved into town. The cougars who used to live 20 miles out of town have followed the deer who have moved to where there are gardens and golf courses to eat year around. . so people see them more, hence they think there are more of them. The hunters can’t seem to find any without dogs so they want to use dogs again in Oregon and Washington because they think that is the only way to get one. . instead they should legalize cougar hunting on golf courses, but then when they kill the town cougars they will have to go on the endangered list because there aren’t very many left in the wilderness.

  2. A better way to deal with cougars that come into town is to call the fire department.
    In Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta, a cougar that shows up in the Waterton townsite is knocked down and chased out of town with a high pressure fire hose.
    It gives the volunteer fire department some practice and conditions the cats to stay where they belong.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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