Let’s keep this really short. This was the headline The Hill chose for a Bernie Sanders story on Wednesday morning:
“Sanders misses financial disclosure filing deadline”
WOW. Those words, coupled with the picture of Sanders looking vaguely defensive and guilty, certainly paint a picture of a sneaky sort of fellow trying to hide something. Why won’t you tell us the truth, Bernie??
Well, it turns out that’s not quite the whole story. This was their second paragraph:
Sanders’s Senate office missed the annual deadline to file his personal financial disclosure on Monday, instead requesting and receiving a 20-day extension.
Wait, so he’s still going to file? In like, three weeks?
Then came this, two paragraphs later:
It’s not unusual for senators to miss the deadline. Sanders’s early months in the presidential campaign are covered by his 2015 financial disclosure, and a spokesman told The Hill the extension is “routine.”
1. The fact that Sanders “missed” the deadline has no practical effect on anything.
2. He actually didn’t “miss” a deadline at all, since the extension gives him a new deadline.
3. The extension is normal.
4. If there’s an actual point to the story, it’s that we now have to wait for certain financial disclosures, and that wait will take approximately 20 days.
5. An appropriate headline for this piece might have been “Sanders receives filing extension, delaying financial disclosures.” Instead, they went with something straight-up deceitful, heavily implying that Sanders is pulling a Trumpian tax-release-dodge maneuver, all in the hopes of earning those sweet, sweet clicks. The sad part is, the rest of the article is basically fine—detailed, accurate, not very sensational. (Since this is is a not very sensational story.) Too bad the headline is like a dangling hook with a nice juicy worm sinking into the waters where the Bernie-haters swim.
I mean, we know as well as anyone that Bernie generates traffic, but come on, The Hill, isn’t this a bit seedy? Even by Internet standards?