What does the phrase ‘breaking news’ really mean? According to the wikipedia article on the phrase, breaking news ‘is a current event that broadcasters feel warrants the interruption of scheduled programming in order to report its details.’ This may be the definition in theory, but I question its actual use on the news networks. Let me ask this: when was the last time you saw a story on the news that was not ‘breaking news.’

Let me give you an example. And this is just one, there are many, many others I’m sure. Yesterday, at the gym I saw the following headline: Breaking News – ‘President Bush Hosts Bailout Talks.’ Now this strikes me as not so much breaking news as slowly unfolding news. Bush announced Wednesday night that he would be hosting talks with lawmakers and the presidential candidates about the current bailout package. Then, Thursday afternoon, while the previously announced talks were going on, it somehow became ‘Breaking News.’ Maybe it was ‘Breaking News’ but if so, to be honest, the tagline should have read this:

BREAKING NEWS:

President Bush Hosts Bailout Talks Just Like He Said He Was Going To Do Yesterday.

Is anyone else concerned that when we actually have ‘Breaking News,’ no one will notice?

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