Headline news nearly everywhere: Bergdahl transfer broke law – except at The Wire

Why the softball headline?

As I understand it, the purpose of a headline is to quickly and briefly call attention to a story. One of the biggest stories today ran the gamut left, right, and center could almost as well have been written with the words “GAO Bergdahl swap broke law” in no particular order:

Detecting a trend here?

The Christian Science Monitory was a touch softer in the hed, but at least they create the shadow of doubt (and interest) by asking about the legality.

Bergdahl prisoner swap: Was it legal? (The Christian Science Monitor)

Along comes The (used-to-be Atlantic) Wire with this zinger:

Pentagon Didn’t File Paperwork for Berghdal’s Prisoner Swap In Timely Manner

Nothing to see here, Atlantic Readers. Move along. DoD bureaucrats fail at paperwork is all. Never mind that they clarify it in full right in the lede.

The Government Accountability Office (G.A.O.) has said the Obama administration violated the law in the prisoner exchange that freed Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.

With a headline like that, one almost wonders if the reporting was merely obligatory, but not intended to actually draw any attention at all.  I just can’t fathom why that would be, however. Is there such a thing as a demographic that only gets its news from The Wire? Why shouldn’t that market get the same basic zinger instead of a snoozer? Especially given the editorial priorities evidenced by article subject matter and placement, I just do not get that hed at all, at all. One would think it would drip with “Obama admin broke law” overtones.

Here’s what their page looked like moments ago.

If I headscratch hard enough to pick a hole in my skull, the best I come up with is that they’re anti-administration, but pro-Pentagon? What kind of agenda setting is this?


Image credit: The Wire (screenshot used under presumption of fair use for criticism)