August 25, 2003

Arnold SchwarzenActor II

Two weeks ago I wrote about how some newspapers were shortening Schwarzenegger (say that three times quickly) because it wouldn't fit into tight headline counts and I cited this headline in the San Francisco Chronicle: "Actor has poor voting record."

The Chron caught up with First Draft today in a column by the paper's reader representative, Dick Rogers, who apparently was responding to concerns from "fans of the screen star-turned-candidate (who) sensed a conspiracy unfolding under their noses. By naming Bustamante but calling Schwarzenegger a mere actor, The Chronicle was trying to influence the race, bestowing valuable name recognition on one and downplaying the other, they said."

My point exactly.

Gina Lubrano, the readers rep for the San Diego Union-Tribune, beat the Chron to the issue by a week. She agreed that using first name for some candidates and not for others "might be considered disrespectful or demeaning," but also highlighted a larger issue:

"Even if headline writers wanted to identify Schwarzenegger by his profession, there is a possibility now that readers wouldn't know whether the story was about Schwarzenegger or another actor, Gary Coleman, who is on the ballot as an independent."

She has a point. Never underestimate the gullibility of the voters.

 Dick Rogers All the name that fits
 Gina Lubrano His name puts headline writers in a bind

Posted by Tim Porter at August 25, 2003 01:22 PM