This Just In: ‘Breaking News’ Now Laughably Overused

By Alex Weprin 

Slate’s David Weigel explores the current usage of the term “Breaking News” on TV news outlets, and is discouraged by what he sees.

On Thursday morning, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., I engaged in a random test of the modern cable news “breaking” regime. You’ve probably already forgotten about Thursday morning. There were no surprises or celebrity deaths or arrests of bathroom-prowling senators. And yet between Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC, I watched 19 news ALERTS explode across my Vizio.

At 9 a.m., the Fox show America’s Newsroom began with an ALERT about “new details in the Secret Service scandal.” The details had been broken by other media hours earlier.  At 9:07 a.m., Fox ALERTED me that something had “just crossed the wires”—a lousy jobless report, 386,000 new claims, coming out of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. At 9:59 a.m., Fox ALERTED me to the static scene outside the Air and Space Museum, where the space shuttle Discovery would eventually be escorted to its resting place by some astronauts. One minute later, I got an ALERT that “the White House has issued an ultimatum to Paul Ryan.”


Read Weigel’s full piece here. What do you think, is “Breaking News” being overused by TV outlets? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.