Imagine a friend tells you about a disagreement two people are having: “I knew their relationship had soured, but I didn’t know the rift was this major. One day they’re fine, and then suddenly they’re in a major standoff!”
We didn’t make up the terms in red — they’re what Bloomberg used to describe the recent U.S. and Turkey visa suspensions, and the supposed state of bilateral relations. Notice the impression these terms create and how they stretch or shrink the imagination, while actually giving you little or no data about the issue itself. That’s often what spin does in news reporting.
The other three articles we analyzed also used several dramatic terms to describe the news of the suspensions. (For more examples, click here). These outlets called the situation a:
The dramatic descriptions above don’t compare to the data in terms of informing us about the situation. That’s the trade-off between sensationalism and fact-based reporting.
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Jens Erik Gould
Jens is a political, business and entertainment writer and editor who has reported from a dozen countries for media outlets including The New York Times, National Public Radio and Bloomberg News