Stoneridge: Misleading Headlines Mislead Public

By January 15, 2008Briefly Legal


Headline writing is not an exact science, we recognize, but…boy, does this one mislead.

This is a screen capture of a Google News search, “Justices rule against investors,” made about 12:15 p.m. We wrote about this misrepresentation or simplification of the Stoneridge storyline last August in this post, “Stoneridge: Which Investors?” Our point then is our point now:

[The] simple media storyline about Stoneridge v. Scientific-Atlanta is that pits investors against big business, implying the powerful corporations are sticking it to the little guy. Really? Suppliers and manufacturers who could be sued for only a tangential connection to securities fraud if the Supreme Court holds for Stoneridge. Don’t they have investors too?

You could make a good argument for a headline that reads, “Justices Side with Shareholders in Securities Case.”

UPDATE (12:55 p.m.) Praise where praise due, Dow-Jones via CNN/ “Court Restricts 3rd-Party Suits In Stoneridge Case.” Yes, a publication targeted at sophisticated consumers of financial news, we know.

UPDATE (1:10 p.m.) Another good one, on the New York Times story: “Supreme Court Upholds Curb on Investor Lawsuits.” That’s a fair description.

UPDATE (1:25 p.m.) Ted Frank at saw the same thing (before we did, too): “NB the biases of the press coverage: AP reports it incorrectly as ‘Supreme Court Rules Against Investors,’ when, in fact, investors are ex ante better off with this ruling.”

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