rlange - 2:10 pm on Nov 14, 2011 (gmt 0)
(This rule about not being specific, while understandable, makes things difficult for anyone who's skeptical. At best, all you have to work with are a bunch of "me, too" responses. This thread doesn't even have that so far...)
4. BigBrandX sees that its "widgets" story has now been bumped off the front page by someone else and then republishes exactly the same story with the same title all over again.
Are you sure that it's the exact same story?
News sites are known to frequently update previously published stories about ongoing events as new information comes in. I don't know how sites like CNN operate on the backend, but is it possible that these updates trigger a republishing of the story?
I find it a bit difficult to swallow that any big brand, while certainly having the resources to do so, would have anyone just sit around, monitor Google News, and then republish a story every time it falls out of the lead.