Is “Breaking News” a lie?

Now this is intriguing. WDRB Fox affiliate in Louisville put out a promo for their news by very straightforwardly addressing the “deception” at the heart of much of today’s news coverage. I love it. Calling Breaking News a lie, an advertising ploy, a trick. The video says “breaking news is seldom actually breaking and often isn’t even news.” They further say they never use that term and believe “the relationship you have with your television station shouldn’t begin with a deception.”

Then it provides some guidance for viewers to help them evaluate news coverage by asking three questions: Is it important to me? Is it really breaking? Is it even news?

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While clearly this is “an advertising ploy” of their own–and I have no way of telling if their claims of doing real journalism are born out by the facts–I find this approach very encouraging. It shows at least some in the media are concerned about the huge erosion in trust in news coverage. It shows they are willing to directly confront the real issue–which is the length to which news competitors will go to attract an audience and the consequences of those errant strategies. But most important, this kind of message helps audiences take a step back and ask important questions about coverage.

That in my mind is the only real answer to the very serious problems with today’s mainstream journalism.