“If there is a question in a headline, the answer is always no” is a journalism adage. British technology journalist Ian Betteridge mentioned the adage in 2009, and it has often been called Betteridge’s law of headlines.
“Is Betteridge’s law of headlines correct?” is a popular joke. “Just please don’t ask ‘Is Betteridge’s Law of Headlines correct?’ It might implode reality” was cited on Twitter on January 13, 2011.
Wikipedia: Betteridge’s law of headlines
Betteridge’s law of headlines is an adage that states: “Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.” It is named after Ian Betteridge, a British technology journalist, although the general concept is much older. The observation has also been called “Davis’ law” or just the “journalistic principle”. In the field of particle physics, the concept, referring to the titles of research papers, has been referred to as Hinchliffe’s Rule since before 1988.
TechCrunch: Irresponsible journalism
by IAN BETTERIDGE on FEBRUARY 23, 2009
One thing though: This story is a great demonstration of my maxim that any headline which ends in a question mark can be answered by the word “no”. The reason why journalists use that style of headline is that they know the story is probably bullshit, and don’t actually have the sources and facts to back it up, but still want to run it. Which, of course, is why it’s so common in the Daily Mail.
@ianbetteridge Just please don’t ask “Is Betteridge’s Law of Headlines correct?” It might implode reality.
8:02 AM - 13 Jan 2011
I’m going to write a post titled “Is Betteridge’s Law of Headlines true?” And then the world will asplode.
10:54 AM - 1 Jun 2011
@SkepNurse @ianbetteridge Oh, there’s still room for a ‘more ultimate’ one; “Is Betteridge’s Law bunk?”
2:27 AM - 29 Jun 2011
Is Betteridge’s Law of Headlines really true?
8:44 AM - 17 Nov 2011
Was Betteridge right?
Posted on 18 March 2013 by John
Betteridge’s law says
Any headline which ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.
If Betteridge was right, then the answer to my headline question should be no, in which case Betteridge was wrong. But Betteridge was wrong, then the answer to the question in my headline is yes.
Is Betteridge’s law right?
7:17 PM - 7 Sep 2014
calmer than you are
is betteridge’s law of headlines correct?
2015-03-19 - New York
Betteridge’s law of headlines famously asserts that any headline that end in a question mark can be answered by the word “no”. This “law” is of course no law – creating a counter-example is trivial – but should rather be seen as a tongue-in-cheek remark on how poor journalism sometimes hides behind dubious headlines.
New York City • Media/Newspapers/Magazines/Internet • Wednesday, April 01, 2015 • Permalink