Sunday, October 24, 2004

Curious Headlines, Part VII of a series

Here's the lede to Susan Delacourt's Saturday Star story about Sheila Copps's allegations that Paul Martin once attempted to get rid of the Canada Health Act:
Booksellers may be thinking about moving Sheila Copps' new book from non-fiction to the fiction shelves today in light of seriously flawed "revelations" about how the former deputy prime minister thwarted a Paul Martin plot to kill the Canada Health Act in 1995.
Seems pretty clear what the slant of the article is. But then here's the headline:
Copps' new book stranger than fiction
And what is stranger than fiction, ladies and gentlemen? Well, truth. At least according to one of the best-known expressions in the English language...

So, the lede says Copps has made "seriously flawed 'revelations'" that might lead booksellers to move her book to the fiction section (read: Copps is a big, fat, unambiguous liar). Meanwhile, the headline says that the book is "stranger than fiction" (read: very possibly the Truth).

I suppose this may just be your average run-of-the-mill garbled headline, but I still think the juxtaposition is interesting. Whether it means that the editors (copy or otherwise) are more sympathetic to Copps than Delacourt is, I don't know.

Here's a question, though: Does Delacourt usually write such bold, tell-it-like-I-think-it-is ledes? It seems to me that the question of the veracity of Copps' claim about the CHA is still at least a little up in the air at this point... In particular, Copps' swearing on her father's grave that it is true on Newsworld has given me pause in dismissing the tale completely.

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