Seems like everything is BREAKING NEWS on some 24 hour news channels these days. It used to be if you heard the NEWS ALERT gong come from the TV it meant that something important just happened. Like someone just launched missiles at someone else. Now it seems that the gong goes off every 15 minutes or so and if you are gullible enough to run into the other room to see what is happening, your efforts are rewarded with something like "BREAKING NEWS: THE PRESIDENT IS AT THE WHITE HOUSE"!! Gee, really? The only thing that beats the hyperactive NEWS ALERT gong is the number of car chases that pre-empt scheduled programming in Southern California.
Then there are the FAIR AND BALANCED hostility sessions. I'm all for fair and balanced reporting. But it seems to me that the 24 hour news format for presenting conflicting sides of an issue rarely works and often degenerates into an on-air screaming match between said sides. If I wanted to watch Jerry Springer I wouldn't be tuned in to the news. I guess I have higher expectations from the news channels that are supposed to be bringing us news.
Of course, since the advent of 24 hour news there is an expectation that there will be news. So what's a station to do if there is no new news? Well, you rehash the same story about 5,000 different ways until you get a DEVELOPING STORY. Then you hit the NEWS ALERT gong and let everyone know that there is a DEVELOPING STORY. A DEVELOPING STORY is one in which "nothing has really happened yet, but ... might at any moment, and ... we'll be there if it does." This is the news equivalent of waiting for your elderly dog to finish his business ... nothing really happening, but it might.
So I've turned it off. I'm taking a BREAKING NEWS break. It may even be permanent. I still think it's important to be aware of what is happening in the world around me, so I've found a new ... well, actually a rather old ... way to get my news. It's called the newspaper. Ah, the smell of ink and paper in the morning. Anyway, I figure that if something REALLY BIG happens it will appear on the front page of the paper AND in the local news AND on the radio. Heck, everyone at work will probably be talking about it, so I'm sure I won't get left out.
Now where did that cartoon section go ...