Monday, October 13, 2008

"Breaking news"

If you've seen the documentary Outfoxed, then you're familiar with how Fox News has misappropriated the "Breaking News" concept and used it to sell sensationalize soft news for ratings purposes.

I don't know if what I've been noticing recently is a new trend or something Fox has been doing all along, but the network has managed to get even less shameful about using the "Breaking News" chyron. For example, last night I turned over to Hannity's America in progress to see this "breaking news":

Juan Williams
NPR Contributor

Seriously. That was the the "Breaking News" - it would alternate between that and Juan Williams, Fox News analyst (or something like that ... I didn't have my notebook handy.) Um, I think it goes without saying that your regularly scheduled guest discussing a predetermined topic is not breaking news.

Yet I've also seen "Breaking News" consisting of throwing Karl Rove's website up on the screen and the same for Newt Gingrich, along with multiple other occasions consisting simply of putting up the name of the person talking.

Although Fox once again leads the pack in crappy news standards, MSNBC isn't too far behind. Witness this clip from Hardball with Chris Mathews, where 3 minutes in you get the "Breaking News" that Kareem Adbul Jabbar endorses Obama for president. In this instance they at least got the concept right, but it is still a pale shadow of what actually would be breaking news; say for instance, that Mathews had been interviewing Al Gore and he announced for the first time he'd be entering the race.

If at some future date an historian writes the Decline and Fall of the American Republic, I expect that the quality of the mainstream journalism will be attributed a significant role.

No comments: