The devil is in the details.
Pardon the cliche, but that old bit of wisdom seems appropriate for this post.
Now, one of the figures at the center of that controversy is back in the news. As we sometimes — OK, often — do at this journalism-focused website, I want to go old-school Journalism 101 and ask a simple question.
In the nitty-gritty of journalism, what difference do you notice between these two headlines?
The first one:
Devil worshiper files lawsuit against Putnam City Schools
And the second one:
Metro School District Sued By Known Devil Worshiper
I see a lot of you raising your hands, especially those of you who have been reading GetReligion for a while.
For a journalist seeking to be fair and impartial — yes, even to a "known devil worshiper" — the first headline is better. It's neutral. It raises no eyebrows with the use of an adjective such as "known." Right?