Pity the poor Florida Parishes headline writer at The Advocate who ran afoul of our hyperpartisan political world last week when he or she topped an everyday police blotter story from Walker, Louisiana with the innocuous headline "Search of Walker Home Finds About $10,000 in Illegal Drugs."
When the story appeared on Yahoo! News, readers who weren't familiar with Walker, Louisiana (just outside The Advocate headquarters in Baton Rouge), jumped to the conclusion that the paper must be trying to smear Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker — though nothing in the story mentioned the governor.
"This is such a poor attempt at defamation it should be prosecuted!" was one of the milder comments, while many others were more agitated, if not downright furious, like the man who called it "Piss poor media propaganda to satisfy the monarch in chief's anti everyone else, racist plan!!!!!!!!!!"
The paper finally waded in to the comments, saying gently, "Folks, Sorry for the confusion. This is a local crime story with a local headline written for our south Louisiana audience. The headline has been clarified to a 'home in Walker.' In no way does the story imply any connection to Scott Walker. And the headline should be clear now."
That didn't quell the controversy, of course; some still smelled conspiracy. Still, drug busts in other small Louisiana towns could have made things far worse. One can only imagine the furor over "Search of Clinton Home Finds About $10,000 in Illegal Drugs" or "Search of Bush Home Finds About $10,000 in Illegal Drugs."