Breaking the set

What does this expression mean? I hear this expression often used in the context of alternative media reports and debates. Here's the link, right at the beginning the host uses that phrase:

Hi, I'm Sean Stone, today we're breaking the set on Buzzsaw

  • We need more context. Is there an example sentence you can give us? – Matt E. Эллен Apr 5 '14 at 23:25
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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about the name of a television programme. – Mari-Lou A Apr 6 '14 at 6:59

You may be referring to:

Breaking the Set which is a television program on RT network. It is hosted by Abby Martin from Washington, D.C.

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  • Yes, that's where they use it. – Michael Rybkin Apr 6 '14 at 0:46
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    Initially I was quite thrilled by the question, and listening to the Youtube clip I believed the expression was a verb, but user71185 is quite correct; the host is only stating that they are the name of the programme (Breaking The Set) as in "We're The Today Show and today we'll be talking..." – Mari-Lou A Apr 6 '14 at 6:50
  • @Mari-LouA the clip is of a show called "Buzzsaw" and they were interviewing a "Breaking the Set" correspondent. I'm guessing the anchor said "Today we're breaking the set on Buzzsaw" as a pun. – Matt E. Эллен Apr 6 '14 at 13:20
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    @MattЭллен a pun? You could've fooled me, maybe next time the screenwriters should tell the presenter. :) – Mari-Lou A Apr 6 '14 at 13:43

A set is a place you have chosen to "set" a snare. Breaking a set is the removal of the snare and associated camouflage, in UK usage.

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  • How does that meaning of set relate to the question? – Drew Oct 19 '16 at 22:58

There are several potential meanings of the term:

  • Permanently separating pieces in a "matched set", such as a set of dishes.
  • "Striking" a theatrical set -- taking down backdrops, etc.
  • In the case of an object that has "taken a set" such that it fits or conforms to some shape, manipulating the object to eliminate that shape.
  • In the case of some semi-fluid material, such as cake icing, which will tend to "set" if left undisturbed for a time, stirring it or otherwise forcing it to become fluid again.

And probably a few others.

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[groan] As already mentioned, "Breaking the Set" was a television program mixing media criticism with investigative journalism.

The set in question is a TV set (a television receiver). And "breaking the set" means exactly that:

enter image description here

The original opening credits depict Martin applying a sledgehammer to a television tuned to CNN.


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