Slightly Yellow? Or, Thoughts on a recent headline.

I noticed an article which had this as the title:

Google fined just $189,000 for 'one of the biggest' data protection violations in German history

We have the word "just" in headline. This indicates that the fine was small. I made the comment that I generally disagree with the word "just" in the title, as this indicates interpretation. (bombing "just" killed 5, etc).

So let's look at other possible titles for this headline:

Google fined $189,000 for 'one of the biggest' data protection violations in German history

Okay, this seems neutral. There is no interpretation. This is all literal.

One reads the article, and you can tell that the maximum fine was €150,000, of which Google was fined €145,000. So we can see from that, Google did not get off "light". They got (pretty much) the maximum penalty. Whether the law is broken or not is not the headline or subject matter, particularly, of the article.

So let's rewrite this headline in some other ways and see how this effects our opinion of Google, or Germany.

Google gets highest-ever fine for data protection violation in Germany

Google fined €5,000 short of maximum penalty for data protection violation in Germany

Google fined record amount for data protection violation in Germany

German courts only fine Google €145,000 for data protection violations.

All of these are now subjective, and while all 'true', they form an opinion of Google before one has read the article.

IMHO, journalism is not supposed to report an opinion. It is supposed to report what happened - and when there is an opinion, it should state it as such.