Stirring the pot: My reaction to the Fox News article “7th graders suspended for playing with airsoft gun in own yard”

In this day and age, many news organizations make money through advertisers: Companies paying for space on articles judging how many people will click the websites page, view the article, and thusly, see the ad. For journalists and many news websites, this creates the slightly mischievous media ploy of creating headlines that will draw attention, even if the story isn’t necessarily regarding the subject you believe it will be about before reading it.

            Take a recent article for example. Upon reading the article’s headline for the first time, I thought “What the hell?! He’s in his own yard for Christ sake, what does that have to do with school policy!?” But upon reading the article, it turns out the kids were shooting the airsoft guns at other kids while waiting for the bus to make its rounds. Granted, this brings up a whole new argument of “Where does reach of punishment from the school end?” and “Is this just another right-leaning article Fox News has become infamous for in journalism?” But, the main problem that arises regards the psychology of the average website reader.

            The headline of the article is written in a sense that it is meant to draw your interest and read the whole article, not just the title. But had the title been worded in a way to better reflect the actual story, this may not be as controversial as I feel it is. Had the article ended with “…near school bus stop” instead of “in own yard,” significantly less of an emotion is evoked by the average reader. More readers would understand why the suspension was implemented and not be as intrigued to read the article.

            Do I feel this is a relevant news story? Maybe for the local newspaper or television station, but I don’t feel this is the kind of story Fox News should pick up on. If you read “seemingly” left or right-leaning news organizations for enough amount of time, stories like this seemingly pop up every week or even more frequently. But, in the wake of mass shootings in Colorado, Connecticut, and just recently in Washington D.C., any story involving guns in any fashion (especially involving schools) is a mainstream national news story.  This article, in my opinion, is meant to incite a reaction in readers in order to gain more clicks, views, and in the end, more advertising profit: what most news media CEO’s are looking for.


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