I’m reading a book about making money on the internet. One section deals with blogs and suggests increasing readership with dramatic headlines. Hence today’s headline. It isn’t actually true. The call centre hasn’t exploded. But did it grab attention? Did it increase curiosity?
It’s the type of thing that newspapers use to get reader attention. They use a dramatic headline that often has no bearing on what the story is about, or else they’ll use dramatic wording that is totally illogical. One example that immediately springs to my mind is the headline ‘Crocodile Attacks Swimmer’. This was in the papers a few years ago.
The online dictionary states the definition of the word ‘attack’ as:
1. To set upon with violent force.
2. To criticize strongly or in a hostile manner.
3. To start work on with purpose and vigour.
4. To begin to affect harmfully.
So to attack is to use violence. But surely to use violence, or to attack, is an act requiring some thought. It’s a purposeful or deliberate act. So did the crocodile attack with purpose? You could say that it’s purpose was to procure food. But do we attack to obtain food? It’s certainly an act of violence to kill, and it could be called an attack. The guy jumped into the lake without looking. Did the crocodile have time to attack? Or did it see a chance of quick meal and act accordingly? Could the spur of the moment act be classed as an attack? Or defence?
I think this headline is completely misleading. It should have read ‘Guy jumps on top of crocodile and animal defends itself, obtaining a free meal at the same time’. I doubt that this would be an attention grabbing headline though.