One for the record books, folks: A Huffington Post headline that distills the very essence of the aggregator’s click-mongering: “Hey Lindsay Lohan! Did You Hear About the Major Victory for Thousands of Stop-Lossed Troops?”
That’s the headline on a piece from Executive Director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America Paul Rieckhoff announcing a major victory for American veterans.
Congress stood up for veterans this week, and delivered retroactive overtime payments for our stop-lossed troops, a new education benefit for children of servicemembers killed since 9/11, and increased VA funding. This is big news.
It is big news! But, more importantly, where’s Lindsay Lohan? Nowhere to be found, despite the fact that the article is tagged, with “Afghanistan, California, Congress, Iraq, Jon, Kate, Lindsay Lohan, Nancy Pelosi, Paul Rieckhoff, Stop-Loss, Veterans, War, Politics News”. Jon and Kate get theirs in the lede, “This week, we’ve seen Jon and Kate inch closer to divorce, the president stand trial in the court of public opinion for fly-homicide…”
There’s something to be said for HuffPo’s masterful search-engine optimization tricks and almost-magnetic headlines and celebrity slideshows; they’re good at what they do. And, this time, Rieckhoff may be banking on Lohan’s fame (sugar) to (help) draw in readers for an actually important topic (the medicine go down), instead of using her to get more traffic, but the result is the same. It’s a cheap trick to get clicks.Katia Bachko is on staff at The New Yorker.