HuffPost interjected bias and opinion into the headline in order to gain clicks in a recent piece republished from the Associated Press.
Many people only read the headline, so to use one that isn’t supported by the following text is hugely misleading. But this is how HuffPost headlines an AP piece about forest fires in Iberia and Greece: “Wildfires Rage Over Parts Of Europe Amid Scorching Heat Wave,” subhead, “Climate change-fueled extreme heat has created “perfect” conditions for wildfires in Portugal, Spain and southern France.”
The problem with the addition of climate change there is that there’s no supporting evidence whatsoever. There is a heat wave, but this is something that happens regularly thanks to African weather moving up from a couple of hundred miles south. That also makes no difference to the fire season, which happens every year, high temperatures or not.
Possibly more important, the people on the ground in Portugal are saying that it all stems from other causes. “Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa, who canceled a trip abroad to deal with the emergency, said that better care of woodlands and abandoned farmland was key to protecting them. “ This is about vegetation management in an ecology – just like parts of California and the West – that is naturally designed to burn occasionally.
The error here is to add in that climate change part. Sure, forest fires can be a bad thing, so is climate change. But it’s not true that all bad things are caused by climate change. Even if traffic can be increased by claiming so, or readers misled by doing that.
HuffPost is now part of the BuzzFeed empire so perhaps we shouldn’t expect better from it – chasing clicks is rather expected. They gain some 60 million such visits a month and are ranked as America’s No. 25 media outlet.