Patt Morrison for March 12, 2012

Bogus cliffhangers in TV news

Nora/Flickr/Creative Commons

"And we wonder why some in NYC think we all have farms in Cincinnati," 2008.

They’re on television screens all the time, banners for “breaking news!” and “this just in!” Especially during this election season, TV news cliffhangers have taken on an accelerated tone, with minute-by-minute shoutouts and graphics detailing incremental moments with exclamation points and exclamatory language.

With hours of waiting for election results for Super Tuesday, cable and primetime news outlets detailed every “exclusive!” they could, while the seconds ticked on. During the last presidential election, in 2008, “The Daily Show” funny man Jon Stewart joked about eight commentators talking at once on-screen on CNBC as an “octobox.”

Hyped-up TV news headlines are regularly used during coverage of storms and natural distasters, plus other events.


Do TV news cliffhangers work when you can go look them up online yourself, or do they just annoy you?


Marty Kaplan, director of the Norman Lear Center at the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, focusing on entertainment’s social, political, economic and cultural impact on the world.

Alonzo Bodden, winner of season 3 of NBC’s "Last Comic Standing," star of Showtime Comedy Special "Who's Paying Attention" and Comedy Congress regular

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