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I think this is excellent and NPOV as it stands, if a bit stubish.

What it does not mention is the bias of television news towards stories to which they have film footage.

This was most graphically demonstrated to me during the Siege of Sarajevo, where at one stage a BBC reporter was quoted on the BBC short wave World Service News (which can be received in Australia with suitable equipment but few bother) as saying a particular hill had just fallen to forces attacking the city. Two and a half days later, the same story appeared on Australian television news, with the same reporter, on film, saying that the same hill was about to fall. Obviously, the film had only just arrived in Australia; This was before news video was commonly transmitted by IP or by telephone line as happens now. The disappointing thing was that there was no mention of the fact that the hill had in fact fallen more than two days previously, although surely the newsrooms knew of this.

The reason is not hard to see. The entertainment value of the news programs was enhanced by the illusion that the footage reflected the current state of the war. But, on the other hand, the information value would have been enhanced by the simple endnote "and since this report was filmed the hill mentioned has fallen".

But, that's in a sense my own original research. I don't see any way of incorporating this or similar observations into this article. That's a shame IMO, I think there is some NPOV information content there if only I could extract it. Any suggestions? Andrewa 20:41, 28 Feb 2004 (UTC)

This page should have examples of over sensationized news... Just for reference. 22:16, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)

the link to the supposedly sensationalist story on microsoft's antispyware removing internet explorer is a link to a parody/satire site. the link should be removed, as it is not an example of sensationalism in the author's definition.

(New writer)It could be possible that sensationalism could be redifined as information either literal or graphical that intends to shock its audience then the above example involving the film aired from the Siege of Sarajevo could be included as a form of graphical sensationalism. (talk) 08:12, 28 April 2009 (UTC)


This would be hard to put together, but it's a good example I think:

MSNBC† - Signs of current life on Mars, researchers claim
Methane signatures seen hinting at possibilities underground.
By Brian Berger, Space News Staff Writer
February 16, 2005
"WASHINGTON - A pair of NASA scientists told a group of space officials at a private meeting here that they have found strong evidence that life may exist today on Mars, hidden away in caves and sustained by pockets of water.
The scientists, Carol Stoker and Larry Lemke of NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, told the group that they have submitted their findings to the journal Nature for publication in May, and their paper currently is being peer reviewed.
What Stoker and Lemke have found, according to several attendees of the private meeting, which took place Sunday, is not direct proof of life on Mars, but methane signatures and other signs of possible biological activity remarkably similar to those recently discovered in caves here on Earth.
Stoker and other researchers have long theorized that the Martian subsurface could harbor biological organisms that have developed unusual strategies for existing in extreme environments. That suspicion led Stoker and a team of U.S. and Spanish researchers in 2003 to southwestern Spain to search for subsurface life near the Rio Tinto river—so-called because of its reddish tint—the product of iron being dissolved in its highly acidic water.
Stoker did not respond to messages left Tuesday on her voice mail at Ames.
Stoker told in 2003, weeks before leading the expedition to southwestern Spain, that by studying the very acidic Rio Tinto, she and other scientists hoped to characterize the potential for a “chemical bioreactor” in the subsurface – an underground microbial ecosystem of sorts that might well control the chemistry of the surface environment.
Making such a discovery at Rio Tinto, Stoker said in 2003, would mean uncovering a new, previously uncharacterized metabolic strategy for living in the subsurface. “For that reason, the search for life in the Rio Tinto is a good analog for searching for life on Mars,” she said.
Stoker told her private audience Sunday evening that by comparing discoveries made at Rio Tinto with data collected by ground-based telescopes and orbiting spacecraft, including the European Space Agency’s Mars Express, she and Lemke have made a very a strong case that life exists below Mars’ surface.
The two scientists, according to sources at the Sunday meeting, based their case in part on Mars’ fluctuating methane signatures that could be a sign of an active underground biosphere and nearby surface concentrations of the sulfate jarosite, a mineral salt found on Earth in hot springs and other acidic bodies of water like Rio Tinto that have been found to harbor life despite their inhospitable environments.
†This is apparently a piece from bought by MSNBC.
It also appeared in, among others, Times of India ("Signs of life found on Mars"), People's Daily ("NASA researchers may have found life on Mars"), which were edited versions of the piece. The Boston Herald ("Does life exist now on Mars? Report: Evidence points to organisms on Red Planet" wrote it's own piece (Jules Crittenden, February 17, 2005) with the opening paragraph stating: "NASA scientists are getting ready to announce indirect evidence that life now exists on the Red Planet, according to a space news Web site's report." but at least tried a little harder: "An Ames spokeswoman referred comment to NASA headquarters. Calls to NASA headquarters were not immediately returned. A Nature spokeswoman was not immediately able to comment on the report."

NASA - NASA Statement on False Claim of Evidence of Life on Mars, February 18, 2005

"News reports on February 16, 2005, that NASA scientists from Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., have found strong evidence that life may exist on Mars are incorrect.

NASA does not have any observational data from any current Mars missions that supports this claim. The work by the scientists mentioned in the reports cannot be used to directly infer anything about life on Mars, but may help formulate the strategy for how to search for martian life. Their research concerns extreme environments on Earth as analogs of possible environments on Mars. No research paper has been submitted by them to any scientific journal asserting martian life."

A forum post found on the web at (could be a mischaracterization, but I'm posting it here in case it surfaces from an authoritative source, and considering NASA's statement it sounds plausible):

(...Dr. Stoker has issued a statement, which I will quote here:)

"A story has appeared in which quotes us inaccurately and without permission. The story is based on hearsay and is factually incorrect.

Here are the facts:

1. On Sunday night we were attending a private party of space exploration enthusiasts in which there was a discussion about the possible meaning of the results from recent Mars missions. We engaged in the discussion and expressed thoughts and opinions as individual scientists on our own time and did not represent ourselves as speaking for NASA.

2. No one at the party identified themselves as a reporter, and in fact no reporters were present. This article is based on hearsay about what somebody at the party thought they heard us say. We think this represents extremely poor journalistic standards.

3. No Nature paper has been submitted with Rio Tinto results. This claim is simply wrong and we did not make this claim. The MARTE project has several papers in preparation that describe the work we are doing at Rio Tinto and the first results of that work, but nothing has been submitted yet. Preliminary results have been published in abstract form at various scientific meetings. If you want to see what the MARTE team has actually said about results from Rio Tinto drilling and its relevance to life on Mars, go to and click on publications. All our REAL publications are posted there.

4. The work at Rio Tinto is relevant to finding life in a subsurface terrestrial environment and can't be used to infer anything about life on Mars, directly. The Rio Tinto work by its very nature can't tell us if there is life on Mars, but certainly helps formulate the strategy for how to search for life on Mars. One approach to searching for extant life on Mars is by drilling. Partly for this reason, the MARTE project was selected for funding by NASA's ASTEP program, out of the Science Mission Directorate and is a joint project between NASA and Spain's Center for Astrobiology."

However, the sensational aspects should be put into perspective:

National Geographic News - Does Mars Methane Indicate Life Underground?, Stefan Lovgren, October 7, 2004

"Data obtained by the Mars Express probe that is currently orbiting the red planet show that water vapor and methane gas are concentrated in the same regions of the Martian atmosphere, the European Space Agency recently announced.

...Vittorio Formisano of the Institute of Physics and Interplanetary Science in Rome, Italy, lead the team that made the recent announcement. In March the same researchers said they had detected methane in the Martian atmosphere. The scientists used the Planetary Fourier Spectrometer (PFS) on Mars Express, an instrument that maps infrared radiation on Mars."

ESA (European Space Agency) - Water and methane maps overlap on Mars: a new clue?, September 20, 2004

"Recent analyses of ESA’s Mars Express data reveal that concentrations of water vapour and methane in the atmosphere of Mars significantly overlap.

This result, from data obtained by the Planetary Fourier Spectrometer (PFS), gives a boost to understanding of geological and atmospheric processes on Mars, and provides important new hints to evaluate the hypothesis of present life on the Red Planet... ...The result is reported today, 20 September, by Dr Vittorio Formisano at the International Mars Conference (19-23 September), organised by the Italian Space Agency (ASI) in Ischia, Italy."

Could something on Philsophical sensationalism be added?

Was "The Onion" duped?[edit]

The article says "Mainstream media is sometimes duped into reprinting stories from comedy sites as facts without any factual checks", and cites the article from "The Onion" as an example. However, I thought that "The Onion" was well-known for its satirical articles? Or is the article trying to say that many other mainstream media companies actually used The Onion's article in their reporting? It seems a bit misleading; maybe there is a need to make it a bit clearer?

(different author)I have attempted to make it clearer and provided some basic logic behind such approach. I also attempted to construct my own conclusion from the authors sources which he cited. I assume that news stations did present false information from uncredible sources as fact to a general population of viewers and that these viewers may have been negatively impacted. I also assume that people believing false information only negatively impacts soceity as a whole and attempt to display my conclusions logically in a non-biased probablistic manner. Here is my proof that the sentence needed this change.

On page 1 of sensationalism when searched on Wikipedia the line, “Mainstream media is sometimes duped into reprinting stories from comedy sites as facts without any factual checks. One widely reported example involved The Onion's story on Harry Potter causing an increased interest in Satanism.[1] The media is also occasionally taken in by mistakes, such as a story about deep sea creatures brought by the 2004 Asian tsunami.[2]” Can be found. The Author of this quote wrote it after the definition of sensationalism. According to the site sensationalism is some form of media intending to cause extreme shock value by using some form of literature or by showing certain graphic images. The line quoted above achieves a form of pre-defined sensationalism by its logic that the media was duped into reporting certain stories. The quote tries to hide under the guise of literary rhetoric, but fails horribly. The quotes justification of media attention is comparable to the sensationalism it attempted to expose. Its source of information or source one in the quote led me to a website with this address displayed below.

The website was the source of the actual story used in the quote above. The author’s logic was not well developed or explained in relation to his citation. The Author’s source failed at explaining the logic behind his statement. Failing to explain how the media outlet mistakenly picked it as a reliable source. He failed to prove how the media outlet was “duped” into reprinting stories from comedy sites. If one even thought about those statements, the pre-defined definition on the page, and the lack of evidence cited beyond the author’s own logic it would seem the quote is indeed what the site informs about. Therefore, it would not be illogical to say this quote fails in producing a logical justification as to why a media outlet fails to pick good sources.

Since this lack of logical proof means some other form of rhetoric is being used there are two other choices this quote could be using to make its statement more valid. The remaining types of rhetoric used in informing the populous are ethical and emotional arguments. Since sensationalism is defined as causing shock value, which is an emotion and a pre-requisite to sensationalism, and since the quote incorrectly deduces the logic behind its statement it could be said the quote is sensationalist reporting. Therefore the statement could be logically derived as a very fallacious statement. The statement is thus a threat to informing people about the pages topic and has ethical implications such as honesty. Therefore the above statement should be re-stated as the following. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:50, 28 April 2009 (UTC) (talk) 08:11, 28 April 2009 (UTC)

Merge with sensational spelling[edit]

The sensational spelling article does not present enough information to stand on its own. As sensational spelling is a form of sensationalism, it should me merged into this article until sufficient information on the specific topic justifies a separate article.

Neelix (talk) 20:34, 11 May 2008 (UTC)

Merged Napsterbater (talk) 03:40, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

Unmerged. It is a linguistic phenomenon which does deserve its own article. Admittedly the article needs to grow, but it is already more than just a place marker. Also, one day's notice is not enough for a merge - proper discussion is necessary, and should have taken place on the talk page of the article to be merged, not here. --Doric Loon (talk) 10:44, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

I agree that one day's notice was not enough for the merge, but according to Wikipedia guidelines, this is the proper location for the discussion. The merge tag on sensational spelling links here, and that has been deemed sufficient to direct concerned users to the discussion. All this being said, I still feel that sensational spelling should be merged into this article. I completely agree that the concept deserves its own article, but there is not sufficient information currently provided for it to constitute its own article. When substatial information on the topic is added, the article can be reformed on its own. Even then, however, there should be a section of the sensationalism article that gives a synopsis of the sensational spelling article. At this point, with the current lack of information, a synopsis would constitute the entire sensational spelling article, therefore it would be redundant to have all the information both on sensationalism and on a separate article. Neelix (talk) 12:02, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

Ringhorne I thought this was a joke when I came across it, but it appears it is not a joke. OK, so here's some discussion about merging these two particular terms: None of this addresses what the two definitions actually mean outside of some petrie dish of a basic writing class at college level, and even in that arena it is not knowing the definitions that has come to this suggestion, I suspect. Please specify how I am incorrect, if I am incorrect.

The two need to remain separate, and frankly, sensational spelling is not deserving of a definition outside of being a segment under spelling, and under marketing. It certainly should not be here. Jon (user: Ringhorne) (talk) 18:45, 26 October 2008 (UTC)

I oppose the merger. Given that "sensational spelling" is the used term for this kind of typographic tricks (which I don't knnow), this does no really fit into the definition of Sensationalism, "being extremely controversial, loud, or attention grabbing". I mean, "Froot Loops" can't really be classified as Sensationalism. --Cyfal (talk) 12:56, 9 November 2008 (UTC)

I also strongly oppose the merge. Sensational spelling has nothing to do with sensationalism. It is just a different spelling to achieve a special (often amusing) effect on the reader, more akin to a catch phrase purposely created or explored by marketing to make a product or message stand out. I suggest removing the merge tags. --Antonielly (talk) 13:53, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
I endorse the comments made by Cyfal and Antonielly. Since there seems to be no support for this proposal, and no comments for a long time, I'm removing the banner from the article. I think if this article can't stand alone then it should be merged with Spelling. Matt (talk) 03:13, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

list of media described as sensationalist[edit]

I propose a new article or section to this article

List of media described as sensationalist

possible inclusions

  • New York Post
  • Supermarket tabloids
  • Various celebrity gossip magazines and TV programs

--Ted-m (talk) 17:31, 26 May 2008 (UTC)