I have long felt that there can be no substantial improvement in professional journalism until and unless the editors of news publications lay and enforce a strict ban on puns in headlines. Truly, I think that some reporters love punny headlines so much that they pick them first and then write their “reporting” to fit the headline, and are quite Procrustean in carving off whatever parts of the full truth of the matter are needed to make it fit.
Case in point: Time magazine, reporting on the Cheney hunting accident, chose the title “Sticking to His Guns” to emblazon the cover. CNN, not wanting to miss out on the fun, reports on the Time story in an article titled “Readjusting their sights”. Ha ha! Funny! And yet I rather doubt that Harry Whittington finds the wordplay quite so humorous. What’s more, somehow I sincerely doubt that we’ll ever see in Time or CNN an article called “Water Under the Bridge” about Ted Kennedy’s fatal driving accident at Chappaquiddick (even if the sentiment it expresses has been exactly that of the MSM ever since that incident).