CNN is under new management with Chris Licht, who was recently named chairman and CEO. One of the things he'd like to address is the breaking news banners, which have become ubiquitous on the cable news channel — and really every other cable news channel — in recent years. To the point the sinking of the Titanic got its own happening-now tag.
"We are truth-tellers, focused on informing, not alarming our viewers. Something I have heard from both people inside and outside the organization is complaints we overuse the ‘Breaking News’ banner. I agree,” Licht wrote in a note to CNN staff. “It has become such a fixture on every channel and network that its impact has become lost on the audience.”
This is the right call and one that's being welcomed with open arms by those who have grown tired of the device. But I think I'll miss it. Hearing Wolf Blitzer work himself into a lather and reach DEFCON 1 for the smallest events was really fun to watch. The banner was a good reminder to viewers that they should probably turn the news off and do something else because the manipulation felt extremely transparent. Now it will be harder to track.
To honor the overused device, I'm hoping someone has cataloged the most egregious uses of the banner through the year. Did the llama escape get one? Balloon boy? Hillary Clinton fainting? So much history to look back upon in awe.