By publishing the spoof about Mike Tyson’s sex change, were we duped? Many of our readers thought so last week. Even the BBC carried an article saying The Standard had been fooled by the NewsBiscuit prank into thinking it was true.
By The Editor
But readers should have noticed that we punctuated our headline with a question mark. We followed what is called “Betteridge’s law of headlines”.
The law says, “Any headline which ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no”. It has also been called “Davis’ law” or just the “journalistic principle”.
Wikipedia explains: “The reason why journalists use that style of headline is that they know the story is probably bollocks, but still want to run it.”
If the headline asks a question, try answering “no”. Examples: “Is this the true face of Britain’s young? (Sensible reader: No.)
Have we found the cure for Aids? (No; or you wouldn’t have put the question mark in.)
Does this map provide the key for peace? (Probably not.)”
When we read it on NewsBiscuit, we laughed and thought our readers could also get the relief we got. They did!
There were so many hits on our website, more than most stories in recent times.
And who says spoofs should only be carried on April 1?