Shatner wrote: Updates triggering reposting does happen (again only for Big Brands mind you) but that's not what I'm talking about here.
Are you sure? Have you checked and double-checked everything? Andem indicates that the simple correction of a typo in the headline and therefore the URL may be enough to bump that particular story back up.
In several cases I've seen "updates" made to stories that aren't really updates. They'll just add one sentence, which isn't realy anything new, and call it an update.
That's pretty natural. If Google is bumping those stories back up to the top, the fault is likely with Google rather than some questionable behavior on the part of the publisher.
To say, without evidence, that this particular method, or any other method, is being consciously used by publishers to game Google News is overly paranoid in my opinion.
Either way, have you informed Google of your findings? If they're being gamed or there is a flaw in the way Google News presents stories, I'm sure they'd like to know.