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Man Bites Dog

22 Mar

This morning I tweeted a story about a man being run over by a trailer, which it turns out, happened to contain a wood chipper. About two hours later, news services were reporting that the man had died. Here are a sampling of the headlines that were posted:

Hartford Courant: Man Dead After Wood Chipper Accident In Old Lyme

WTNH: Man killed in wood chipper accident in Old Lyme

And my favorite so far,

NBC Connecticut: A man is killed by a wood chipper in Old Lyme.

If you read those headlines and immediately thought of some sort of horrible scene where a man was turned to mulch, well, you weren’t the only one. Comments on twitter ranged from “Whoa” to “what a tough way to die” to “Is there a Fargo in Connecticut?”

Of course the headline was intentionally written in this way, in order to evoke a Fargo-like imagery and entice you to click through to read the story. At least on twitter, though, it appeared people were reacting solely to the headline, and not reading the details at all. I wonder if they would be disappointed to learn that the man was killed when one of his employees accidentally struck him with a trailer they were backing up? After all, it’s not nearly as exciting as their mental version.

If you have good examples of similar ambiguous headlines, please leave them in the comments below.

Oh, and if you haven’t seen Fargo, check it out.