It's a blog.
In: Uncategorized25 Aug 2008
Has anyone else found “Breaking news” to be way out of hand? To me, “breaking news” is something major that’s just happened. When you hear breaking news, your jaw drops and you run into the next room and tell everyone. 9/11 was breaking news. A major earthquake is breaking news nearby, but not overall. (I have friends and family in California, but I don’t think many of the wildfires or earthquakes there are breaking news. Cause for concern to me, yes. But I wouldn’t call it breaking news on the East Coast.)
In addition to being major, it has to be, well, breaking news. What was breaking news on the noon broadcast of your news show isn’t breaking news when the news comes on at 5.
But the bar keeps getting lower and lower for “breaking news.” A car chase in the next state over? Breaking news. The weird Rockefeller guy? That was breaking news for days, if not weeks. So wasn’t the polygamist sect in Texas. None of it really seemed like “breaking news” to me, as much as fairly interesting stories.
So today, the bar got even lower with this:
Breaking News: CBSNews.com – Who Is Michelle Obama? – 1 hour ago
I suppose it could be breaking news if, for example, Michelle Obama had just been outed as the guy that Barack Obama had secretly fathered two children with, or if McCain had criticized Obama for suspiciously buying his (only) house with a mysterious “Michelle Obama” entity. But anyone who’s ever watched the news will recognize that Michelle Obama is Barack Obama’s wife. She’s been on the campaign trail. She’s been on the news. In fact, unless you get your news from far-right attack machines, she’s not even a controversial figure. (And actually, none of those examples are really breaking news.)
The thing is, in addition to making me roll my eyes, and maybe discrediting the news a little further, I really think this type of thing, in the long run, is just going to make “Breaking News” lose its meaning. Breaking News isn’t something that happens every day.