Seattle P-I, AJC Offer Slightly Loaded Headlines on AP Gun Case Story
Headlines can be an excellent window into the biases, albeit sometimes subtle, of editors. An AP story about a gun rights case, McDonald v. Chicago, challenging the Windy City's handgun ban before the Supreme Court today is one such example.
"High court looks at reach of Second Amendment" reads the headline the Associated Press assigned its story by Mark Sherman.
The AP's headline is pretty straightforward and unbiased. As Sherman reported in his story, the controversy in question is whether the ruling in Heller extends to the states or if the ruling only forbids the federal and D.C. governments from infringing on the right to keep and bear arms.
Yet at least two media outlets picking up on Sherman's story opted for more loaded headlines.
"Will the Supreme Court limit state, local gun laws?" asked the Seattle Post-Intelligencer-assigned headline, subtly painting the Court as likely to overturn the will of the people as expressed through their local governments, even if that legislation is unconstitutional and injurious to a citizen's civil liberties.
"Justices may extend gun owner rights nationwide," declared the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's headline for Sherman's story, as if to hint the individual right to keep and bear arms was an invention of the Supreme Court that has yet to be expanded further by the Court, rather than recognized by the Court as constitutionally protected already.