The word “porn,” when used in a headline, tends to catch the eye (and, when used online atop a story in a decidedly unsexy publication, many of these eyeballs will be what marketers call “unqualified”).


Overall, though, we understand the temptation to — and the possible rewards of — leading with “porn.”


But in the case of Lucas Mearian’s piece for Computerworld, leading with “porn” means misleading the reader.


“Porn Industry May Be Decider in Blu-ray, HD-DVD Battle,” proclaims the headline on Mearian’s piece (Blu-ray and HD-DVD being the two formats battling it out for the next-generation, high-definition DVD format).


But we quickly find out that while the porn industry may be one of several contributing factors in or “deciders” of which format ultimately takes hold in the marketplace, two of the three “experts” whom Mearian tapped to bone up his thesis actually do more to deflate it, downplaying the porn industry’s role in the battle. In other words, Mearian sexed up the story.


One of these experts — “Paul O’Donovan, an analyst with Gartner” — tells Mearian that Sony’s adoption of Blu-ray is a more “critical” influence on the marketplace than is the porn industry’s embrace of the format. And, Mearian reports, “Steve Duplessie, founder of research firm Enterprise Strategy Group, in Milford, Mass., said the porn industry’s influence over the fate of … the upcoming high-def DVD formats is overstated.” Duplessie tells Mearian: “I don’t believe the porn industry will drive the format.”


So what this story boils down to is: some combination of the major players in the entertainment industry — mainstream movie studios and porn studios alike — plus consumers will ultimately determine which format wins. Not exactly sexy (or particularly newsworthy) stuff.


And so from Mearian’s piece there is no happy ending to be had — for power-hungry porn execs or information-hungry readers.

Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.