This morning I was standing in my kitchen drinking coffee and watching the news on CBS. They were interviewing the parents of Taylor Anderson, a 24-year-old teacher in Japan and a U.S. citizen, who died in Japan’s earthquake and ensuing Tsunami. Suddenly the interview was interrupted with “Special Report” and accompanying music. I thought, “Oh no, what’s happened: a terrorist strike, a war in Libya, another earthquake?! What?!” I thought surely something really, really terrible was happening, when correspondents came on to announce, “Elizabeth Taylor has died.” What?! I mean, I’m as big an Elizabeth Taylor fan as the next gal, but was this really “BREAKING” news that was so urgent you had to interrupt the interview with Anderson’s grieving parents?! Perhaps if Taylor’s death had been followed by her being miraculously brought back to life, then the announcement might have warranted “Breaking News” status, or running it across the news ticker would have sufficed until an appropriate moment to physically announce it.
I guess CBS News thought we would all need to know immediately if not sooner that a 79-year-old famous actress had passed away. While I was relieved that this was not a matter of national crisis nor national security, I certainly would have survived without knowing this until later in the morning or during the day, maybe the noon, or even the 6 o’clock news. But then maybe it was a national crisis for some people.