I take the criticism to heart when a headline fails to fit the facts or the tone of a story, but in general I try to retain my sanity by reminding myself, and the complainers, that 1,235 words will generally paint a more nuanced and sophisticated picture than, say, nine words. (Or, hell, 1,234.)
John McIntyre, assistant managing editor for copy desks at the Baltimore Sun, offers some words to live by:
A headline -- please keep this in mind -- is inherently elliptical and approximate. The text has the exact, detailed information. The headline is a suggestion that you should read the damn story.