Is Sensationalism Ever Okay?

People MagazineLast week’s People magazine had a cover of Sharon and Jack Osbourne with a gigantic quote from Sharon saying “I Won’t Let My Son Die”.

The subtext had to do with Jack Osbourne’s newly disclosed diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis.

This week’s Editor’s Notes say “Last week’s cover headline was meant to convey Sharon Osbourne’s fierce maternal determination to protect her son Jack from the effects of multiple sclerosis.  It also, however, suggested to many readers that multiple sclerosis is a fatal disease; it is not.  We regret the misunderstanding”.

Ya think?  I have some difficulty believing that the editors of People had not already written this week’s notes when they published last week’s issue.  Did their sensationalism and emotion sell more issues, or did it send people running?

Anyone who bothered to actually read the article would have read a thoughtful, informed and empathetic account of this condition, its effect on Jack, his fiancee and newborn baby girl.

Jack is doing what he needs to do, with grace and determination.  Walk down that aisle Jack, and move forward.  Get help with the stressful parts – who cares where everyone is sitting anyway?  Taste the cake, taste the menu, do the fun stuff and be happy.

And no more gigantic headlines!  It’s about Jack, not anyone else.  No one else’s story to tell but his.