The Washington Times has an article on its web site about Thursday's Capitol Hill hearing on Don't Ask Don't Tell, the now-repealed policy that prohibits the service of open and honest gay and lesbian Americans in the military.
The headline and subhead read:
Services OK with ending ‘don’t ask’The first paragraph says:
No ‘push-back,’ brass reports to Capitol Hill
Preparations for repealing the military’s ban on openly homosexual service members have proceeded very well — even among Marines, who have not demonstrated any resistance, the Marine Corps commandant testified Thursday.If you click to share the story on Facebook, however, the headline reads:
Lawmaker skeptical of repeal of 'don't ask' - Washington TimesAnd the excerpted first paragraph, designed to appear on Facebook's feed, says:
The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee said on Thursday that he is troubled by the rushed way the Obama administration is moving to repeal the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the U.S. military.Similarly, if you click to share on Twitter, you get this retweet:
RT @washtimes Congress skeptical of repeal of military's gay ban - Washington Times http://bit.ly/i1eqHqHowever, if you click on a different Twitter icon, you get this:
Services OK with ending 'don't ask' - Washington Times http://t.co/la0otOW via @AddThis(Note that the shortened URLs are different in the two different Tweets.)
And if you click on a different Facebook button, you get this:
Services OK with ending 'don't ask' - Washington TimesConfused? I was.
Preparations for repealing the military's ban on openly homosexual service members have proceeded very well — even among Marines, who have not demonstrated any resistance, the Marine Corps commandant testified Thursday.
It looks like somebody at the Washington Times -- I don't know who, but it's certainly not the reporter who wrote the story, Shaun Waterman -- is attempting to put a spin on the story through social media that is not borne out by the actual report itself.
I just noticed this by chance. An important question to ask is, does the Washington Times do this with other articles, or is this a one-off phenomenon? What are the ethics of changing the headline and the emphasis of a story when spreading it through social media sites? Is this worthy of criticism?
Your thoughts are welcome in the comments space, below.