Sick sensationalism

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The Star Tribune this week published a story under the headline, “A New Heart, A Dark Heart?” (It’s interesting that this headline does not appear on the online version today, although search engines still find the original headline.)

The headline is pretty clearly meant to imply that a newly-transplanted heart drove a young man to plan a gruesome murder.

I thought the headline was awful, but I thought, at first, that I may be alone in that judgment.

Then I saw a letter to the editor in today’s Star Tribune:

The Aug. 14 headline, “A new heart, a dark heart?” that accompanies the story about the boy from Woodbury who had a heart transplant and is now charged with felonies was so sadly sensationalistic.

Although I am not in the medical field and have no medical expertise, I feel pretty confident that the idea that the heart of an 11-year-old boy, whose grieving parents generously donated to save another boy’s life four years ago, could be “dark” is ridiculous. You didn’t need that headline for people to read that story. I hope that all families involved in this tragedy were spared from seeing this headline.

Has the decline in circulation led to this much of a decline in standards?

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