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Who Will Disprove Betteridge’s Law?

Ian Betteridge has proposed a law, humbly named Betteridge’s Law: “Any headline which ends in a question mark can be answered by the word ‘no’.

Let’s test that with news headlines ripped hot off the press just now:

BTN Live: How Many Teams Should Make the Playoffs?

No!

CNET: How Much Would Jabba the Hutt’s Palace Cost You?

No!

The Standard-Examiner: What Kind of Government do we Have in Weber County?

No!

The Guardian: Who Should They Kill in the Simpsons’ Yellow Wedding?

No!

The Planetary Society: Which is Bigger, Pluto or Eris?

No!

Consumerist: Which Credit Cards Have the Most Restrictions on Rewards?

No!

How many examples do I have to provide to prove Betteridge’s Law wrong?

No! No! No!

3 comments to Who Will Disprove Betteridge’s Law?

  • None of those were yes-or-no questions.

    • Jim Cook

      Exactly. Betteridge’s law shares a one-hypothesis view of journalism. I wanted to make the point, without stating it outright, that journalists ask a lot of different kinds of questions, some of which are not about hawking falsehood with cheap headline tricks. These make up just the most obvious subset of the broader set of questions journalists ask.

  • I’m of the school of journalists who make their writing clear to a 12-year-old, if possible. Your comments above are way over my head, and I’m 66.

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