Top Five Stupidest Newspaper Headlines

Newspapers operate on strict deadlines and there are a lot of pages to fill. These two pressures often combine to cause headline writers and journalists to have a brain fart that makes nonsense spill out onto their screens. That’s why it’s probably not nice of us to laugh at them for those occasions where silly things make their way onto the pages of newspapers but when has that ever stopped anyone?

Humans are horrible and today we are embracing that fact, so let’s get stuck in and have a right laugh at some of the stupidest newspaper headlines ever sent to print!

5. Don’t Eat Poison!

When it comes time to write the Big Book Of Things That Are Obvious, “please don’t ingest poison” will be on page two (page one will be “you are reading a book”). It’s one of those things that you’re just supposed to know once you’ve reached level five in the game of life; something I keep being told is actually called “age five” because “life isn’t an MMO” and “you really need to step away from the computer from time to time”. Screw that, I say! I’ve still got Flern Nuts to harvest so I can level up my cooking skills to maximum!

“Don’t eat poison! Also, if you need to be told that, how are you reading this paper?”

The thing is, humans are stupid and young humans are even stupider, that’s why we had that whole “let’s eat Tide Pods” craze amongst the most moronic of our next generation. It’s why in the Seventies and Eighties, British children were constantly being warned not to climb electricity pylons; which you might recall are the giant structures that carry high voltage electricity around the country. Those things are deadly and they are usually well protected so that idiots won’t touch them, yet the Government still had to run adverts on television saying “hey, climbing a pylon will kill you. Don’t do it, dumbass!” and kids still went and climbed them.

Yes, this really did go out on British television during the children’s programming block.

So yeah, okay, maybe this headline is kind of justified. The part in the accompanying article saying “never refer to medicine as candy” needs questioning, however. Who is calling their medicine “candy”? If it’s to try to make it more appealing to children who need to take it, you’re doing it all wrong. Everyone knows the best way to get a kid to take their medicine is to wrap a treat around it, or hide it in their bowl at feeding time.

4. Herey barllskdjf fkdasd fg asdf

No, we didn’t just fall asleep on our keyboards but the headline writer for the New Orleans Times-Picayune may have. Why do American newspapers often have these weird names, by the way? We’re pretty sure America is the only country where the newspapers get to have double-barreled names; and speaking as someone with a double-barreled surname, I’m well aware that I’m in a glass house on this one so don’t @ me.

“Umm… what?”

Anyway, this headline comes to us courtesy of someone who was so enthused by a story they were writing about a Jets v Patriots game that they didn’t notice half their headline was complete gibberish. We know how they feel, to be honest. We’ve often sat there watching an American Football game only to find that we’ve lost the ability to form a coherent sentence. It’s like magic. Well, maybe it’s the beer talking in our case but even so, it happens!

You’d have thought at least one person would be sober at some point during the production of the newspaper though, wouldn’t you? Wouldn’t you? Come on, someone in journalism has to have not had that much to drink yet, surely? They can’t all be that hard liquor-swilling stereotype from every film featuring a journalist ever, surely?

Or maybe it’s just a proofreading error. That’s a possibility, we suppose. It’s a bit “out there”, though.

3. Teen Pregnancy Rates Lower In Non-Teens

Now, I’m not a statistics expert but even I can see a flaw in this logic. I had the misfortune of having to do a lot of work with statistics as part of a Physics degree, so perhaps I’m a little more well-versed in this matter than some journalists may be but, and hear me out here, come on, guys. Surely you don’t need to be Statistico The Wonder Statistician to know that people who aren’t teenagers shouldn’t count when working out the statistics on teenage pregnancy?

YouDon’tSay.gif is an appropriate response here.

Yes. Yes, you would think that because you are a smart person. The person who wrote the headline “Teen pregnancy drops off significantly after age 25” was either not a smart person, or they were having the mother of all off days.

What really hits home hard for me on this one is the fact that not only does the headline claim teen pregnancies “drop off”, which suggests they haven’t ended completely, but that the statistics decided teenagers included people right up into their mid-twenties. I am left wondering who decided “yeah, twenty-five is about as far as we should go on this”. Did a twenty-six-year-old teenager just sound silly to these people, but a twenty-five-year-old was perfectly acceptable? What Moon logic were they operating on here?

Please, please, someone explain how teenage pregancies are still happening when someone is twenty-five. Look, I can understand the logic of including a few twenty-year-olds beause if you get pregnant late into when you’re nineteen, giving birth at twenty is going to happen but at twenty-five? Come on! How long do these people think pregnancy lasts? What are these women, salamanders?

And yes, I did look up the longest gestation periods in the animal kingdom for that joke. Black Alpine salamanders have been known to gestate their young for up to three years. Don’t say we never teach you anything here at All Over the House. We bring jokes and facts, yo!

2. China Hides Submarines In The Sea

Yes, someone really did get paid to write that. We all chose the wrong career, didn’t we?

Submarines? In the sea? But that never happens!

Now I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not Submarine Girl, the Mistress of Submarines but I’m petty sure that if I was to ask someone in the street where they think you’re most likely to find a submarine, “not on land” would be one of the top three answers (the other two are “in the sea” and “why are you looking at me like that? I’m scared”).

Submarines are traditionally used to hide while travelling, it’s one of their main features. They let people get close to other people who don’t want those people to reach other people. They aren’t quite the Stealth Fighter of the sea but they’re pretty good for getting about undetected. That’s why it’s not a stretch of the imagination to think the best place for a submarine to go undetected would be in the environment they are designed to go undetected in.

Now if the headline had been “China uses forests to hide submarines”, that would have been newsworthy. I’d read that article. Hell, I’d watch a film about that. Someone call Netflix, this needs to go into pre-production fast!

1. Woman Wears Clothes

The Daily Mirror is well known in the UK for being gutter press. Not happy with having printed fake photos of British servicemen torturing prisoners, it also loves to trawl the gutter when it comes to celebrities as well. Take this headline, which they proudly broadcast on Twitter because when you’re hitting this low a level you might as well go all in:

Guys, this may be news to you if you recently arrived here from Ferengi-controlled space but here on Earth, women wear clothes. It’s actually quite common for women to wear clothes all day long. Scary, I know.

We’ve all had days where things have gone on a lot longer than we were expecting; which necessitated wearing the same clothes overnight. Hell, I’m sure everyone who was around for the Millennium has had one of those days because guys, we partied all night. It was the turn of the century and the time when all the computers were supposed to break down. We as a species saw this occasion coming and decided as one that we were going to be absolutely wasted when it happened. I don’t actually remember most of that evening but the photos prove I was there and all the photos prove I was wearing clothes when it happened. Shocking, I know.

So unless you’re a colossal idiot, the concept of a woman wearing clothes and not removing them for 24 hours should not come as a shock. I’m not saying everyone at the Daily Mirror is a colossal idiot here but they did deem this idea “newsworthy” and they did pay someone to file that story, so you can draw your own conclusions.

Zoë Kirk-Robinson is a cartoonist and comedian who writes every day because she thinks it keeps her sane. Her latest book, All Over the House: Book Three, is out now.

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