Cathy Dee at Common Sensibilities calls The Journal Gazette on its lapse into headlinese:
I ran out the door this morning to grab the Journal-Gazette from the newspaper tube and scan the headlines. What a lame headline I had to scan: “Obama accepts party nod.”
I mean, come on!? A historic occasion, a speech before 85,000 people, the first African-American president, and the strongest description the headline writer can come up includes the word “nod”?
Cathy probably wouldn’t be happy with anything less than “Chosen One begins mission to save America,” but I get her point. That’s lame and lazy.
I quickly called up the Page 1 we’ll have today, and our headline says, “Home stretch starts with historic speech.” That’s a little better. Then I thought I’d go check out Page 1 headlines from other papers today. From the Birmingham News: “Obama seals deal in front of 80,000.” Seals deal? That’s worse than “accepts nod.” From the Arizona Republic: “Obama: Keep alive ‘American Promise.’ ” That doesn’t exactly zero in on the historic nature of the occasion, does it? That’s what every presidential candidate says, especially the Democrats. (Parse that sentence; I dare you.)
“Obama’s historic night,” says the Fresno Bee, with the subhead “Nominee touts his plans, slams McCain before a cheering audience of 84,000.” That’s not bad, but it loses points for “touts,” a word that barely exists outside of headlines. The Cincinnati Enquirer: “Obama fulfilling MLK’s dream” with the subhead “45 years later, senator accepts place in history.” Pretty darn good — would have been perfect if they could have snuck in the presidency somewhere. Let’s go right to the Big Boys. New York Times: “Framing Goals, Obama Takes the Fight to McCain.” “Framing goals?” How utterly boring. Below that is another story about the speech with a headline that starts — not making thisup — “He accepts nod . . .” Wall Street Journal “Obama Frames Campaign As Vote on Economy, Bush.” Did they have a secret meeting with the Times’ editors or something?