I’m not a doctor. I’m a former TV lackey turned public relations professional.  And while I appreciate that there is a world of difference between medicine and media, I do have a working understanding of both.

As such, I struggle when media looks to assign deeper meaning to the selfish actions of individuals, as if some pathology behind them would make them understandable.  Are there legitimate medical hypotheses behind some of these stories? Or, as this increasingly skeptical news junkie suspects, are these pieces manufactured – regardless of fact – simply to provide the publication/network with a new angle yet untouched by competitors they can loudly promote as an ”EXCLUSIVE!”

The latest example: Time magazine ponders the link between Boston Bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev and boxing. That’s right. Boxing. (“The Brain of a Bomber: Did Damage Caused by Boxing Play a Role in the Boston Bombings?”) While, yes, there are studies that link brain injury to violent behavior and, indeed, several thousand former NFL players are suing the NFL over it, there are enough glaringly obvious differences between the deceased young terrorist and aging former elite athletes that I’m truly struggling with the link Time proposes.

For starters, protective headgear worn by amateur boxers today versus the joke called helmets worn by old-school NFL players is significant. Also, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) as cited as a possible cause of Tsarnaev’s aggression takes decades to develop. If he boxed only for a few years until 2010 as indicated, it would seem too few years have passed for the condition to have fully developed.  Further, CTE is characterized by Alzheimer’s like symptoms – dementia, confusion, depression and angry outbursts. If he was brain damaged in this way, it is fair to suggest that these crippling symptoms would have interfered with the man’s ability to meticulously research, build and orchestrate such a horrific, pre-meditated crime.

As a publicist, I keenly understand the need to generate news. That’s what PR is and PR firms do for our clients every day. However, in a field that often wrestles to manage its own image, whose practitioners are constantly defending against perceptions that we play fast and loose with truth, I am growing deeply concerned by the gross liberties taken by media, every day, in the name of Breaking News.