One of the plagues on the internet is the rise of click-bait headlines. I’m not sure if Upworthy or Buzzfeed started the whole thing, but The Onion does a hell of a parody of the concept. Coming over from a site that specializes in this sort of thing, I’ve learned to become sensitive to it.
The Times-Picayune unfortunately decided to go full Upworthy in an article today about a town hall meeting that U.S. Senator and gubernatorial candidate David Vitter (R-Louisiana) held with Congressman Garret Graves (R-Baton Rouge) in Baton Rouge. The article’s title is “Why David Vitter doesn’t want to impeach Barack Obama.” You would think the takeaway is about David Vitter wanting to impeach Obama except for one small thing.
Here’s the article about the impeachment talk, which was in response to a couple of questions from the audience (which was only mentioned towards the end).
U.S. Sen. David Vitter and U.S. Rep. Garret Graves, R-Baton Rouge, both said they wouldn’t pursue the impeachment of President Barack Obama, only because it would leave Vice President Joe Biden in charge.
Vitter and Graves said a Biden presidency would be just as bad — possibly worse — than the current situation.
Vitter added that an impeachment of Biden (after the impeachment of Obama) would lead to the election of Hillary Clinton in 2016, a move that would be bad for the country in his opinion.
“I think that elects Hillary for eight years,” said Vitter of a joint Obama and Biden impeachment.
Still, Graves made it clear that he believed Obama’s actions would make an impeachment valid, even if it wouldn’t be politically wise for Republicans. He said Obama had overstepped his bounds more than any other president in American history.
The one driving the impeachment talk was Graves, not Vitter. Graves said impeachment would be valid, but Vitter didn’t give his opinion on that part. Also, the comment attributed to Vitter alone in the headline was also brought up by Graves.
One of the most annoying things about Upworthy style click bait is that a lot of the time, it doesn’t tell the whole story. Many people just share the article without reading it.
This isn’t a criticism of the reporting of Julia O’Donoghue, but it is a criticism of the lazy editor who decided to go Upworthy on this story. Never go full Upworthy. It just makes your newspaper look bad.