Absurd Headline: Can You Die from Drinking Too Much Soda?

Time gets the prize for the most absurd headline this week by hanging a false statement about soda onto a barely related story about deadly child abuse. Parents of a five-year old girl were charged with murder Friday because they reportedly forced her to consume more than two liters of grape soda in a short period of time as some sort of punishment. She died of acute fluid intoxication after the excessive liquid intake caused brain swelling.

C’mon, Time, you can do better than this. This might be the basis for a story about the dangers of consuming anything in excess — even water. It might be the basis for a story about deadly child abuse.

But twisting it into a story about the dangers of drinking soda goes beyond the pale. The popularity of vilifying soda provides no cover. The only redeeming aspect of this misadventure might be that it shines a light on the overstatement of the health threat of soda that regularly escapes attention. Excess is not good — whether the excess is in one’s diet or one’s reporting.

Click here to see the story in Time and here to read about the troubles Time faces in a new media world.

Headline in The Guardian, photograph © Peter Rukavina / flickr

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2 Responses to “Absurd Headline: Can You Die from Drinking Too Much Soda?”

  1. February 12, 2014 at 6:24 am, mary-jo said:

    I am not a fan of drinking too much soda, but this headline was a cheap shot against the soft-drink industry on the back of a tragic death of a child at the hands of perverse or horribly ignorant parents. The story needed to be told, for sure, along with teh very good, helpful explanation of fluid overload — but this was a missed opportunity to frame such a horrible example of depraved humanity trivialized to compete with the latest headlines on BigDrink. Time should beheld responsible for some sort of criminal offense.

    • February 12, 2014 at 7:40 am, Ted said:

      Agree completely.