This morning, McDonald's
On the other hand, McDonald's reported that it would take charges of an undisclosed amount in the fourth quarter as it continues its widely publicized revitalization efforts. (Even we here at the Fool have chimed in on the subject -- twice.)
Personally, I found the headlines used by media outlets in covering the news more interesting than either of the actual announcements. Consider these:
"McDonald's sees more revamp costs" -- Jenny Spitz, CBS MarketWatch.com
"McDonald's same-store sales up 8.4%" -- Reuters
Neither story covers both announcements in its headline, even though both announcements are discussed in each. The fast-food Goliath's own press release treats the two as one story:
"McDonald's Reports Record October Sales Up 18% and Further Steps in Revitalization Plan"
So why didn't either headline address both announcements?
Obviously, lumping the two announcements together cushions the blow of the negative one -- that's why the PR people at McDonald's did it. And since neither MarketWatch nor Reuters, that bastion of impartiality, has any ostensible interest in how these headlines make McDonald's look, I'm not suggesting that either one should be doing the company any favors by automatically taking the PR spin at face-value.
But it is important to realize that those covering the news do have to make choices about how to cover it. Those choices can create a definite slant -- sometimes favorable, sometimes not -- in otherwise unbiased reporting. The effect is heightened on the instantly-gratifying Web, which leaves many people reading just the headlines.
Within minutes of major business happenings, financial news portals like MarketWatch.com and Yahoo's
Devan Goldstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned in this article. He spends way too much time on the Internet.