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Anatomy of a headline: Xbox 360 parental controls

So this week, Microsoft announced that it was adding a new feature to its Xbox 360 video game console that will allow parents to determine how much time their kids can play games on the device. Put simply, they're improving the device's parental controls. It's unclear how this can be seen as a bad thing, and ZD's headline about this news item is typical:

Microsoft aims to make Xbox more family-friendly

Microsoft on Wednesday showed off a new Xbox feature that will allow parents to set the amount of time that kids can play games. The move is part of the company's effort to broaden the reach of the Xbox 360 to include more families. 

Fair enough. But it's interesting to me how a Microsoft-unfriendly publication, like the acerbic UK-based Inquirer, handles this same story. Here's their headline:

Microsoft censors Xbox 360

See the difference? Now, we've all played with headlines to some extent. (The one I did that I still smile over is, "Is that a PC in Your Pocket or are You Happy to CE?") But this one just plays off of a needless Microsoft hatred. The sub-heading, "for the good of the children," ladles on a little sarcasm, just so you know it's all just good, clean fun. Except that it's not. Here's an example:

The big idea is to make the console more attractive to parents who love torturing their children with autocratic and dictatorial controls under the guise of preservation. This is a big market across the pond ... The new function is similar to one installed in Windows Vista which is designed to stop adults wasting all their day searching for porn. The new timer can be set to limit playing time on a daily or weekly basis.

Here's the thing. I love British humor. Love it. Get it. Recommend it. This isn't it. In fact, this isn't humor at all. It's just spiteful and silly. 

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