BREAKING NEWS!!: We just realized today that, based on historical statistics, our mortality may be in jeopardy. Seriously, we cannot support the idea of immortality with any historical facts. And even more serious – aren’t these statements obvious! So why did I start with “BREAKING NEWS!!!”
I was born at about the same time as television. My mother debates which medium matured faster, me or television. She saw any maturity on my part as BREAKING NEWS!!! Back to the point. Newspaper headlines used to bring surprise, sadness, or joy – but always a surprise. In the early days of television (1950’s and 1960’s) when the Man on the television said, “BREAKING NEWS!!!” everyone stopped what they were doing and huddled around for the important update.
Conflict besieged my mother. Do I turn off the iron? Better turn off the iron! “Don’t get too close to the TV children, the rays will make you go blind.”
Once assembled in a pile in front of the tv we would be knocked over with shock. “President Kennedy has been shot!” “Soviet Satelite launched”. “Kennedy assassinated”. “MLK Dead in Memphis”. “RFK assassinated in LosAngeless”. That was a time when “BREAKING NEWS!!!” actually meant something.
Did you check the CNN web site? What is that all about? I went to the site and was pleasantly surprissed that there was actually some news that I had not yet heard. The Russians are sending an aircraft carrier to the Middle East – OK, it is not like someone got killed or something, but at least it was something I had not heard already. But most of the BREAKING NEWS!!! was like this:
Donald Trump’s dangerous rush to judgment
Every half hour CNN takes a commercial break and returns after the break with “BREAKING NEWS!!!” and Don Lemon says, “We continue our discussion on popcorn in movie theaters with important guest Happy Humphrey. Happy, we are glad you could join us. Why do you believe popcorn in movie theaters is essential to the movie experience.” Happy smiled and responded, “I like popcorn.” Now there is some BREAKING NEWS!!!”
More on Happy Humphrey:
The Breaking News of the 21st Century is difficult to distinguish from movie popcorn. We live in an era where crying wolf is rewarded with tv ratings and advertising bucks. Television journalism has degraded to the level of National Enquirer. Every event is presented as being as pressing and invalueable to our ability to finish the day. (An aside, I actually saw Happy Humphrey live).
Society has become so prone to exageration that I finde myself ignoring the Tornado sirens, Fire and police sirens, gunshots down the street, and day old bread at the bread store.
What is the point? My Breaking News for today is that I am tired of the misrepresentation of news for the sake of ratings.