Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Updated: Do you know what's on your website this morning? Vanity Fair goes 'birther' with blog headline

Has Vanity Fair gone birther? You'd think so from the headline on VF Daily this morning: Obama's Hawaiian Birth Certificate Is Probably a Forgery.
The collection of random items does not include any story that makes the claim, but rather leads with a link to an MSNBC story about 11 state legislatures, all led by Republicans, that want the government to look into the matter of the President's birth certificate -- in other words, the story is about birthers on the state level.

The story was posted early this morning, but now that it is past 9:00 ET one would have thought someone at Vanity Fair would have noticed. Maybe this is the sign of a change in editorial direction at the monthly magazine? (Probably not.)

Updated: It's been changed. Someone got their cup of coffee and almost chocked, I bet, when they read their own website. The headline now reads: Legislators in Georgia Actually Believe That Obama's Hawaiian Birth Certificate Might Be a Forgery -- pretty wordy if you ask me. But take a look at the URL. It still shows the original headline.

This is reminiscent of the headline one used to see all the time in the old days of hot type. Someone would get cute and put a crazy headline into the newspaper for the editors to see and take out. Sometimes the headline would simply read: Headline Here. But, of course, sometimes the tired editors would let it go through.

But today many content management systems create URLs based on the original headline written. For instance, I might type in the headline for this story as "Headline Here" then press publish. Then, checking my work, I would see that I've made a mistake and write a new headline. While the headline would go live, the URL would remain the same -- something like

The only way to correct the URL, or course, would be to delete the story completely out of the system and post a new one.