Metamorphosis in headlines


Propastop noticed an article, where the headline and contents changed considerably after several referencing.

On 25th of May, Business Insider publishes an article “US Army chief: The infantry needs a new 7.62 mm rifle”. Where in the opinion of the chief of staff Mark Milley “M4 Carbine’s 5.56mm round can’t penetrate modern enemy body armour plates and plans to arm infantry units with rifles chambered for a more potent 7.62mm cartridge.” This opinion is a response to a question posed by US Senate committee.

On 26th of May, a Finnish tabloid Iltalehti publishes a story with a question mark in the title “General criticizes inefficiency of American cartridges – will the US soon follow Finland’s example?”  The story summarises Business Insider article, adding that Finland is currently using weapon RK-62, which needs exactly 7.62 mm calibre ammunition.

On the same day, an Estonian language portal, which is a mediator for Finnish news and information, is referencing Iltalehti’s article. Now the question mark has disappeared from the title, and it has a spicy adjunction “NATO weapons are no good! US is following Finnish example”. On 28th of May, the Kremlin propaganda channel Sputnik is already referencing

This case is good illustration; how creative title editing can give a random story a new connotation. In the original story, there was no mentioning of Finland or the calibre that is being used in its army – the Finnish tabloid added this. The original story was just posing the question, whether they should consider changing the current calibre. Nonetheless, already in the third reference, the calibre change became a certain fact with and expert opinion, that NATO’s weapons are unsuitable.

The metamorphosis of this title shows, how it is not always propaganda channels, who contort the content. Random tabloids and blogs are sometimes doing also this. However, there are examples, how similar over exaggerations titles have been used as an anti-Estonian propaganda technique. For example, in this year January, there was a fake news how Estonia is planning to attack Russia’s nuclear facilities. Or in 2015, where Estonia was accused unjustly of having apartheid system.

Photo: screenshots from the referenced articles