Cable news may adore the “breaking news” banner, but it rarely gets a chance to truly break news that hasn’t already appeared on social media. Case in point: the announcement this morning that House Speaker John Boehner is resigning from Congress, which broke on Twitter shortly before 9:30 a.m. ET.
The New York Times tweeted a link to their breaking news story at 9:30:
Breaking News: Speaker John A. Boehner will resign from Congress at the end of October, aides say http://t.co/xNxxzwFxkQ
— The New York Times (@nytimes) September 25, 2015
On cable, CNBC reported the story, via the NYTimes, at 9:32 a.m. ET–putting a breaking news banner over live coverage of remarks by Chinese President Xi Jinping. Fox Business was next, at 9:34 a.m. ET.
Broadcast news was even slower, with NBC’s Today breaking the Boehner announcement at 9:40.
Twitter, with its always-scrolling feed of news, is ever-hungry for breaking news. Cable—and especially broadcast—with rundowns and commercial breaks, simply can’t move as fast.