By Elias Tan
Writing headlines is tricky business. They have to be accurate, catchy, responsible…Lianhe Wanbao is eating humble pie because it got it wrong when it said in its headline that Opposition politician Nicole Seah was seeing a man believed to be married. The man, identified as Steven Goh, is a divorcee, which was mentioned in the story.
The story originated from a picture showing the second assistant secretary general of the National Solidarity Party resting her face on the shoulder of a man which she posted on her Facebook.
Netizens launched blistering attacks against Wanbao, AsiaOne, which picked up the story, and SPH, which owns the two outfits.
Even political commentator for the Today paper Devadas Krishnadas didn’t mince his words: “The posting … was reprehensible…If whichever journalist and editor thought they were doing the PAP a favour, they miscalculated massively…”
Seah called it gutter journalism and might want to sue. Nobody called her to clarify, she said.
As the storm was blowing, both Wanbao and AsiaOne changed the headline to: Nicole Seah says she is dating man in photo she uploaded on Facebook. Hours later, they apologised to Nicole, who has been in the news lately for baring her soul in her Facebook when she said that 2013 was her worst year.
As all this activity goes on online, the mainstream media is maintaining a stiff silence. Strange one that.