Headline Quality Poor

Article Revised: March 26, 2019

The headline shrieks across the entire page: CDC finds rocket-fuel chemical in baby formula. But upon reading of the article one finds very little to worry about. Consider the following items mentioned in the body of the article:

  1. The chemical in question can occur naturally
  2. No tests have ever shown the chemical caused health problems
  3. The extent of the risk is hard to assess
  4. The FDA has not recommended that people alter their diet or eating habits because of the chemical
  5. The study’s author stated “This wasn’t a study of health effects”
  6. Only a few samples were studied
  7. An industry spokesperson stated “This study provides no data on potential health effects” of the chemical
  8. The EPA has checked nearly 4,000 public water supplies, none exceed current limits.

If we judge the quality of a headline by the accuracy of its description of the story, this headline has to get a failing score.

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