When Headlines of News Stories Pose Questions, the Answer is Sometimes in Plain Sight

When a headline poses a question, it suggests that the article will shed light on a question the reader wants answered. But I’ve recently noticed a type of headline-question that answers itself. It’s the variation on the question: Is Donald Trump Nuts?

A case in point: “Is Trump making America mentally ill?” by Kathleen Parker in the Washington Post. I don’t need to read the story to know that the article’s answer is Yes. (If you don’t believe me, Parker writes: “Today, about a third of the nation’s population seems to be suffering from a reality discernment malfunction. Have they been ingesting mushrooms plucked from bull dung? Drinking water spiked with credulity-enhancing chemicals? Thus, when President Trump speaks in his fourth-grade, monosyllabic, syntax-challenged verbiage, they hear lyrical lucidity. When he brags that he has accomplished more than any other president, save for Franklin Delano Roosevelt, his starry-eyed minions nod their approval. Exactly no major legislation has been passed by Congress since Trump took office.”)

And some of the suggestions for further reading after Parker’s article are just as effective at communicating an answer. The first article suggested under the “Read More Here” banner is “Is Donald Trump just plain crazy?” (And the article’s answer is, of course, Yes. Or as the writer Eugene Robinson puts it: “During the primary season, as Donald Trump’s bizarre outbursts helped him crush the competition, I thought he was being crazy like a fox. Now I am increasingly convinced that he’s just plain crazy.”)

The second Read More article is Jennifer Rubin’s “When is it okay to say the president might be nuts?” This question doesn’t have a yes or no answer, but it nonetheless communicates the same message as the other articles–that yes, the president is nuts–otherwise there’d be no point in asking when it’s OK to say so.