“Breaking News” is broken

Earlier this week when Tiger Woods announced he was going to have a news conference, the media began tripping over itself to share the announcement. In breathless breaking news alerts they proclaimed “Tiger Woods to speak for first time since accident.”

OK, I highly doubt Tiger had not uttered a word since his Escalade kissed a tree. What the media should have been writing was, “Tiger Woods to speak publicly for first time since accident.”

Of course, I would have preferred they didn’t report anything about Tiger and his made-for-TV-movie life. I certainly didn’t need days of breaking news alerts about the anticipated confession. I didn’t need an analysis about what people thought he was going to say. And I really didn’t need follow-up reviews of what he said, which one news outlet proclaimed would be examined “word for word” to find out what Tiger really meant. There were even news reports popping up later concerning one of Tiger’s mistresses demanding an apology from him as well.

After seeing that “news,” I posted to Twitter and Facebook with: “Tiger cheated; he’s sorry. His tramps want more attention. In other breaking news, the Earth is round.”

The worst offense in all of this media hara kiri I have to reserve for the TV networks that decided to carry the scripted nonsense live. Daytime programming was interrupted so people could watch something that belonged on the late night talk shows — as a joke.

Not everyone in the news business was happy about the decision. My hat is off to WLNS TV 6 in Lansing, Mich., which posted this on its Facebook page:

CBS will interrupt “The Price Is Right” at 11am to bring you a special report on the Tiger Woods talk. Since this talk is happening during CBS programming, WLNS is obligated to run it. Our apologies to TPIR fans.

Good for them. It’s nice to see there is some sense of normalcy in Lansing newsrooms. I had a media acquaintance of mine put it much less delicately than TV 6 did. He told me, “It used to be Special Reports were for when a President died, not when a golfer f**ked around.”

Unfortunately, “breaking news” is broken. It’s time for news consumers to break out the duct tape and try to fix it. We need to speak up and tell the news outlets that we want news that is relevant to our lives, not press conferences that remind us of the Jerry Springer Show.

So, here’s a little help to get you started. Reach out to the major networks that force-fed us this trash. Tell them Tiger is an endangered species, and if they don’t clean up their act, they will be, too.

ABC

NBC

CBS

FOX

CNN

(Image courtesy of CBS News, which is pretty sad when you think about it.)

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2 comments on ““Breaking News” is broken

  1. Is it just me or did that ridiculous and unnecessary scripted statement last nearly as long as a State of the Union with about the same media coverage? A top story? Sad, very sad.

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  2. You are correct Joseph. That was not a news conference, it was a scripted speech that delivered no news. And his mom coming up afterward to hug and kiss him? Puh-leeze. I couldn’t believe some of the media talking about trying to find out “what she whispered in his ear.” Ugh.

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