subject matter, language, or style producing or designed to produce startling or thrilling impressions or to excite and please vulgar taste.
the use of or interest in this subject matter, language, or style: The cheap tabloids relied on sensationalism to increase their circulation.
the doctrine that the good is to be judged only by the gratification of the senses.
the doctrine that all ideas are derived from and are essentially reducible to sensations.
Psychology, sensationism.

1840–50; sensational + -ism

sensationalist, noun, adjective
sensationalistic, adjective
nonsensationalistic, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To sensationalist
World English Dictionary
sensationalism (sɛnˈseɪʃənəˌlɪzəm)
1.  the use of sensational language, etc, to arouse an intense emotional response
2.  such sensational matter itself
3.  philosophy Also called: sensualism
 a.  the doctrine that knowledge cannot go beyond the analysis of experience
 b.  ethics the doctrine that the ability to gratify the senses is the only criterion of goodness
4.  psychol the theory that all experience and mental life may be explained in terms of sensations and remembered images
5.  aesthetics the theory of the beauty of sensuality in the arts
n, —adj

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Example sentences
But tales of their savagery and wiliness don't all come from sensationalist
  authors looking to make a buck.
Fly ash being radioactive is bad, why you have to spoil reporting that fact
  with sensationalist and misleading article.
They seem to have jumped on the band wagon of the popular sensationalist press.
The sensationalist language in the headline is unacceptable.
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