VOICE OVER: Ryan Wild
WRITTEN BY: David Foster
The most confrontational news moments turned journalism into reality TV. Our countdown includes Weijia Jiang vs Donald J. Trump, Jim Ryan vs Dick Oliver, Matt Laubhan vs John Dolusic, and more!
Top 10 Most Confrontational News Moments
Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 most confrontational news moments.
For this list, we’ll be looking at awkward, tense and downright explosive moments from the news. Anchors, meteorologists and Presidents… they all have a role to play in these confrontational moments.
Can you think of any other confrontational news moments we missed? Sound off below.
#10: Jennifer Livingston vs Anonymous Fat-Shamer
Our first story is a fairly serious one, but certainly a headline that you’ll never forget. It’s also quite unique in that this entry has a very cold confrontational moment and yet there is only one person involved. After receiving an email from an anonymous source that criticised her weight, “WKBT News” Anchor Jennifer Livingston turned the situation on its head. Livingston, who has a medical condition that affects her weight, used her platform and confronted not just the emailer, but any would-be body shamer out there. Unanimously and deservedly praised for her candor, Livingston proved how to stand up for yourself in a dignified way.
#9: Jamie Simpson vs Bachelorette Viewers
Also in the news… list, is this—now-infamous—moment, which is not only intense but probably saved some lives in the process. Still, this emergency update was apparently a huge inconvenience to “The Bachelorette” fans wanting to see what Hannah Brown had to say. And they were none too happy to have weatherman Jamie Simpson interrupt the broadcast to, y’know, warn of an impending tornado. Another moment in which an on-screen personality is confronting someone through the camera, Simpson was having none of the social media backlash from “The Bachelorette” faithful. His outburst angrily reminded them that their personal safety was way more important. Several hours after a tornado touched down, lead star Hannah Brown took to twitter to back Simpson up.
#8: Matt Laubhan vs John Dolusic
In other news… related moments of this list, we have a confrontation between co-workers that would have been hilarious to watch live—provided you weren’t too busy darting to the nearest storm-shelter, of course. What is it about weathermen and their hot tempers? Then again, it’s tough staying cool on live TV. In a clip that made its way to “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”, weatherman Matt Laubhan can be seen berating news anchor John Dolusic for not paying attention to the impending weather warning. The atmosphere was more tense in the studio—but Laubhan gets a pass for his impassioned stance. The last time he was delivering a tornado warning, he had to evacuate the studio.
#7: Chad Myers vs Carol Costello
In some related news, this particular entry involves a confrontational moment between weatherman and anchor. On the morning of August 30th, meteorologist Chad Myers was giving his daily update on the path of Hurricane Katrina. Before he could get into it, Carol Costello cut in and asked him—albeit somewhat rudely—to call it as plainly as he could. In her defense, when dealing with such a serious issue, perhaps Myers could have simplified things a little. Instead, he blew up—sharply demanding that Carol “let him talk!” Ouch Chad! Luckily it was very early in the morning so fewer people saw his rage, and besides, he was “just joking…” apparently.
#6: Courtney Brennan vs Newell Resident
And in other news… sometimes confrontation can be a cool reminder that journalists aren’t to be taken for granted. Particularly in the local news programming, where the press aren’t as protected, tensions can quickly rise. Such was the case in November 2012, when Pittsburgh’s “WPXI-TV News” sent field journalist Courtney Brennan to Newell in order to report on a finding of explosives in a residential area. Whilst setting up, herself and her crew were approached by a local resident and berated. We’re giving credit where it is due: Brennan did not give an inch or back down, despite the aggressive behavior she unexpectedly faced.
#5: Kate Bolduan vs Carl Higbie
This news (event) was a long time coming. In 2016, CNN News personality Kate Bolduan was given a show, initially to report on the presidential election. To ensure that the show had no bias towards any political leanings, guests from the left were just as welcome as guests from the right, with Bolduan mediating. During a discussion into the White House allegedly sharing information with Russia, former Navy Seal and Donald Trump supporter Carl Higbie started questioning the legitimacy of anonymous sources if they wouldn’t state their names. Higbie began shouting about how anonymous sources should be named. The onslaught of Higbie’s naive statement didn’t end, and other guests soon took him to task. We get the feeling they’d had this conversation before...
#4: Brooke Baldwin (w/ Keith Reed) vs Clay Travis
In breaking news… former CNN host Brooke Baldwin gave viewers the ultimate confrontation during a three-way conversation in September 2017. Ironically, this moment came about during a longer and heated debate over the practice of free speech—as Jemele Hill’s tweets had gotten her into hot water with the White House and ESPN. Still, Clay Travis’s remarks (that he believes in only the ‘first amendment and boobs’) did little but annoy Baldwin—who was trying to promote more women with her platform. After clarifying that he didn’t say “booze,” Baldwin finally pulled the rug out from under Travis’ feet and cut him off. And that’s goodnight for him...
#3: Weijia Jiang vs Donald J. Trump
News from the White House now. When you think of great rivalries, you can have Frazier vs Ali, The Rock vs Austin, David vs Goliath—but the most intriguing heavyweight bouts of recent times is Trump vs Jiang. Since 2018, reporter Weijia Jiang has been the White House correspondent for CBS news—and for some reason then-President Donald Trump took an instant dislike to her. He’s told her to keep her voice down,” referred to her questions as “nasty” and accused her of fabricating a “gotcha” moment—all on separate occasions. But nothing compares to the press conference in which he told Jiang, who is of Chinese origin, to “ask China” about coronavirus responses. When challenged, he backtracked—and when challenged again, he abruptly walked off stage. Running away? You decide…
#2: Jim Ryan vs Dick Oliver
In local news…rooms, tensions can be very high. With small teams, the intimacy of the office can lead to strong relationships or butting heads. It’s a testament to one’s professionalism to keep the behind the scenes animosity away from the public eye. But it’s much funnier when fights happen on camera—just ask Jerry Springer. Anchor Jim Ryan got into it with reporter Dick Oliver when the latter seemed to let the news story go. Oliver’s response was to immediately move onto the offensive, reminding Ryan that he used to be the boss. The moment was long considered to be the inspiration behind the Herb Welch character on “Saturday Night Live.” Though the SNL team deny that, it’s hard to ignore the similarities.
#1: Jim Acosta vs Donald J. Trump
And finally… our top story is an event that started in the news and then made the news—before ending up in the courtroom. Weijia Jiang may’ve been one of Donald Trump’s least favorite correspondents, but CNN’s Jim Acosta could be the ex-President’s nemesis. During a White House press conference in which he challenged Trump over his “invasion” of migrants from South America remarks, Acosta gently blocked the intern attempting to take the microphone. Trump accused Acosta of physically shoving her, and had Acosta’s press pass revoked. Judges expressed this was a contravention of the fifth amendment. The case was settled when Acosta was reinstated. Say what you like about the 45th President, but he did provide some confrontational moments on the news.