“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”
--- Douglas Adams

Friday, July 27, 2012

Breaking News Before Coffee

We can't bust heads like we used to. But we have our ways. One trick is to tell stories that don't go anywhere. Like the time I caught the ferry to Shelbyville. I needed a new heel for m'shoe. So I decided to go to Morganville, which is what they called Shelbyville in those days. So I tied an onion to my belt. Which was the style at the time. Now, to take the ferry cost a nickel, and in those days, nickels had pictures of bumblebees on 'em. Gimme five bees for a quarter, you'd say. Now where was I... oh yeah. The important thing was that I had an onion tied to my belt, which was the style at the time. You couldn't get white onions, because of the war. The only thing you could get was those big yellow ones...
--Grampa Simpson

Hubby and I had a stupid argument this morning about what the term "Breaking News" means. A topic too stupid to discuss at 6:30am, when one of us was just waking up and the other was just about to leave the house for the day; certainly a topic too stupid to discuss before either of us had any coffee. So up front, sorry Hubby for wearing an onion on my pants and taking the ferry to Shelbyville before coffee.

If you're like me, you see the TV screen flash "Breaking News" and you think you're going to hear something important. You stop and listen.

I've noticed that the breakfast TV news I watch in the morning has been having a lot of "Breaking News" lately. As usual, I stop to listen, only to find out that the "Breaking News" is just a regular news story, and not anything really important, or not important enough for me to miss my bus and be late to work for.

I brought this up to Hubby this morning. My complaint was that my preferred breakfast TV news source was using the term "Breaking News" too loosely and almost becoming a crying wolf situation where I wasn't going to stop and listen to them whenever they said some story was breaking.

Now I trust Hubby. I understand his position. I trust that his definition of "Breaking News" is the correct one. He's dedicated his professional life to journalism. If I were to trust any source regarding the definition of newsy-type terms taken at his word, without demanding any documentation, it would be Hubby.

His definition of "Breaking News" is news happening now; news that is happening and being reported or revealed at this moment. I completely understand the definition and agree with him.

My argument was that the general public doesn't view the term "Breaking News" the same way that a reasonable person would.

At 6am, before my coffee, I think of "Breaking News" the same way I think most of the general public does. I'm guessing that this is the way the general public thinks because I got my definition from about.com, the premier source for pedestrian definitions;  "Breaking news usually refers to events that are unexpected, such as a plane crash or building fire. Breaking news can also refer to news that occurs late in the day, close to a news outlet's usual deadline."

When I hear the term "Breaking News" on the news I expect to hear something that's going to affect my day; something like a big crash on Muni that will keep me from getting to work on time, some giant fire, a really famous or well-known person dying or getting badly hurt, a natural disaster like an earthquake over 7.0 or a 30 mile long cyclone brush fire filled with robots, killer bees and siafu ants making its way across the plains states. I don't want to hear about a policeman who shot a burglar in a small city 500 miles away from me, or that some former presidential candidate had some sun spots removed from his face and he's recovering nicely at his vacation home somewhere fancy, gated and exclusive. Save those stories for the regular news rotation and leave the "Breaking News" stories for things that will have an impact on my day, especially at 6am.

As annoying as it is, it seems that my preferred breakfast TV news source honors the true definition of "Breaking News" and not that of the general public. I'll have to remember that and not hurry to the TV every time I hear the musical cue followed by the phrase "Breaking News."

Hope I don't miss anything important. I really don't like siafu ants.

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