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Sensational Journalism – Fair Game or Unethical? [Poll]

Flickr user mbell1975

Sensationalism is as old as journalism itself. In 1898, newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst was famously alleged to have sent a telegram to a reporter looking for a story during the Spanish-American War saying, You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war.” We’ve gone from that, over 100 years ago, to alleged pictures of dead celebrities on the covers of magazines.

In more recent times we’ve all seen the checkout line tabloids vying for our attention. This star had secret surgery, that star has a shocking secret, etc. Most of the time, the stories are based on nothing but speculation, and sometimes not even that. In fact, lot of times, the writers employ flashy headlines to get you to buy the paper, just to have the story be marginally related at best to the sensational headline. It’s classic “bait and switch”.

In this day and age, when there’s TV news, print news, and Internet news all competing for your attention, some publishers are more concerned than ever in getting a “scoop”.

The latest example is the fire that The National Enquirer is coming under for publishing a picture on their cover, alleging to be Whitney Houston in her casket. Nobody is taking responsibility for the photo, there has been no credit given, and there’s even speculation as to whether it’s really Whitney or not.

So here’s the question…is it all fair game in the end if the news source isn’t technically lying, or it is just slimy journalism? Vote in the poll below, then feel free to leave a comment!



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