Scott Soshnick’s hyperbolic headline about the New York Islanders’ arena situation exposes the grim truth about modern sports journalism.There’s recently been a lot of talk about the impact of bogus headlines on the perception of pertinent issues.
While the effect of these misleading headlines has been disputed — some surveys, such as that from Ipsos and Buzzfeed News, claim that fake headlines fool 75 percent of adults — there’s a consensus opinion that this epidemic is detrimental to society.
Previously, this was only relevant to the political realm, where activists and biased commentators attempted to advance their agendas. However, with the increasing burden placed on journalists to bolster their page view counts, this has found its place in the sports world, as well.
Scott Soshnick of Bloomberg Sports penned an article Monday evening entitled, “Brooklyn’s Barclays Center Is Dumping the Islanders.”
Immediately, journalists and bloggers scrambled to regurgitate this news: ‘Barclays Center is evicting the Islanders; per report,’ the headlines read. Soon enough, the entire hockey world was talking about the Isles’ impending departure from Brooklyn.
Not surprisingly, the body of text does not support the headline…
— Glenn Pacitti (@glenn_pacitti) January 30, 2017
I actually just read it and concluded the same thing
— Adam Rubin (@AdamRubinMedia) January 30, 2017
But people who actually read the piece will notice something unsurprising: the body of the text doesn’t support the headline. The author drew this conclusion off of non-projected revenue after the 2018-19 season. As many have pointed out, his findings are opinion, not fact.
The problem with this is simple: many believe that it’s set in stone that the Isles are leaving Brooklyn. But as Soshnick points out in the article’s text, this isn’t so. “The lease can be terminated by either the Islanders or arena management,” he wrote.
Which is not what appeared in the headline. So those people who just read that aforementioned — and there were surely hundreds who did — believe that the team is moving, end of story. That’s not the case.
But thanks to Soshnick’s irresponsible headline, many think it is. And it’s an embarrassment to responsible journalists everywhere.