Yeah, we’re going to need to take that one again. Welcome to WatchMojo and today, we’ll be taking a look at our picks for the Top 20 News Reporting Fails.
For this list, we’re counting down the most epic fails in the history of the news. These can involve reporters, journalists as well as anchors and in-studio personalities.
#20 Grammy Reporter Mixes Words
Getting tongue-tied during a news report is a pretty common occurrence for newscasters and reporters, but Serene Branson took it to a whole other level. During her news report delivered outside the 2011 Grammy Awards, Branson reportedly suffered a migraine, causing her speech to be garbled and unintelligible. The way she delivers the nonsense words with such conviction tells you that in any other circumstance, Branson is a complete professional, and that there’s more to this error than meets the eye. A VERY heavy bertation, indeed!
#19: Beagle Takes Studio By Storm
Animals can make for unpredictable partners on tv, and though that can make life difficult for their handlers, from a viewer’s perspective, the results are always hilarious. Weatherman John Zeigler learned this the hard way when Griffey, the studio beagle, insisted on a game of fetch during the forecast. Zeigler quickly gives in and engages the dog - which proves to be his undoing. Griffey returns to the weatherman again and again, even hitting the green screen in his excitement. Although Ziegler smiles through it, you can see him becoming progressively worn down as he weathers the playful but sudden storm of energy.
#18: Eating Floor “Grape Nuts”
The 5 second rule couldn’t save this newscaster. During a live broadcast, weatherman Scot Haney decided to snack on what he thought were some grape nuts strewn on the floor. As fellow anchors mock him for his odd on-air choice, Haney’s facial expressions soon give away that he too is having second thoughts. But viewers soon got an update that made everything worse. In the “Trending Now” segment, Haney reveals that what he thought were grape nuts was actually cat vomit he tracked into the studio on his shoes. Well… that explains why the so-called grape nuts were “a little soggy”. It was funny reveal, but also rather revolting.
#17: The Completely Wrong Clip
When it comes to producing video content, editing is crucial. One mistake can throw off an entire segment. Anchor Pat Murphy was updating sports fans about tight end Kevin Everett’s condition after an in-game injury. As Murphy mentions that Everett could move his arms and legs they cut to a video of a completely different man in a wheelchair. The baffling courtroom scene that plays out is horrendously inappropriate for the story. As the newsroom cuts quickly from the ill-timed clip, Murphy manages to keep his composure and finish the report like a professional - but we’re guessing someone behind the scenes got a serious reprimand.
#16: Editing Leads to Murder
As we were saying about the importance of editing… it applies to the script too. In this clip from CBS 5 Eyewitness news, anchor Ken Bastida announced that his co-worker was out before going into the lead story about a recent homicide. However, there was no clear transition between the two topics and the victim’s name wasn’t mentioned. As a result, it looks and sounds like Bastida had just delivered news of a coworkers’ grizzly death with barely any emotion. The real victim’s name and picture does appear, making it clear that his fellow anchor is alright, but seriously... a simple re-read and we could’ve avoided a whole lot of shock and confusion.
#15: Complete Mic Fail
A reporter can’t do their job with a missing microphone, but they should check for one first. During coverage of the Democratic National Convention, we’re sent live to reporter Andy Shaw at the event. He doesn’t say a full word before looking down at his notes and then looking for a mic, despite having already having a headset to speak into. Ironically, as Shaw screams for a mic, we can hear his every word. When the feed cuts back to the studio, he’s made such a scene that his fellow anchor can’t not smirk at the humor of it all.
#14: Anchor Laughs at Goat-Man
Each year, Ig Nobel prizes are awarded to strange projects that are funny yet fascinating. But the staff at CTV news couldn’t get past the funny part when talking about one winner. Thomas Thwaites had spent three days living as a goat chewing on grass and wearing artificial limbs. As one anchor discusses his findings, she breaks out into laughter. Although she tries to press on, the visuals prove too much for her to handle. By the end of the segment, three studio anchors are cracking up on air and the goat-man proves himself worthy of his Ig Nobel prize.
#13: Can’t Handle the Pressure
Another morning show, this time in Australia, sent a reporter on a mission he couldn’t handle. Up in the sky above the Earth, at the mercy of a pilot who’s used to the rigors of plane tricks, a mild mannered presenter made the mistake of encouraging a man to push him to his limits. The look of just holding back vomit and exhilaration on his face soon gives way to one in which he seems at peace as unconsciousness takes him.
#12: Close Interview With Pole
A dedicated reporter doesn’t let anything get in the way of their story. Kent Molgat demonstrated this when he questioned an irritated lawyer trying to walk away. In the middle of his hot pursuit, Molgat walks straight into a metal pole. The hit is so striking that even the annoyed lawyer stops to check up on him. A second camera angle shows that Molgat actually stayed on his feet, but that the impact likely cost him a pair of glasses. We don’t know if his persistence got him any closer to the truth, but talk about a story with impact!
#11: Make Believe
One of the most important aspects of bringing the news to the public is cultivating an ability to get to the truth of any story - and not let lies and deception deter you. How someone in the chain of command of this news station was not able to stop these anchors from treating this TV set as a legitimate crash scene will never cease to amaze us. We can only imagine if the copter camera panned a little bit more to the side that there would have to be cameras, crew and maybe even trailers or catering fully in view!
#10: Jet Slack
When you first wake up in the morning and find your way to the nearest TV, one of the last things you’d probably expect to see is a grown man slammed into the sea. Using a water-powered jet pack when you have what we presume is little TV experience may sound like a fun idea at first, but it also may just lead to internet infamy. When the anchors burst out into uncontrollable laughter at your misfortune immediately thereafter, then that fate is virtually ensured. Still looks wicked fun though.
#9: High During the News
BBC Correspondent Quentin Sommerville got a little too close to this highly exclusive report. Sommerville was taping a segment in the Middle East as a large pile of drugs burned behind him. He manages to record for about five seconds before the fumes get to him, causing uncontrollable laughter. Sommerville tries to get serious, but each of his attempts to start over proves more side-splitting than the last. At times, even the cameraman seems affected by the smoke. Their giggles may have come from being under the influence, but the laughs this report produces are completely genuine.
#8: News Lessons
There are few things in the world more awkward than suddenly finding yourself working under somebody who you were at one time the boss of. Probably the worst case scenario is when you find yourself at odds with him while LIVE on television - but at least you can rest assured that your embarrassment is creating some amazing TV for the rest of the world. We can’t help but love every second of this anchor and reporter engaging in school yard level taunts in what should otherwise be a very serious environment.
#7: Unique Introduction
At one time, the world of television was dominated by a few networks that had a stranglehold on what you saw on your sets. As a result, only the most seasoned, experienced people got the chance to helm the news. In our modern world where there are seemingly as many stations as there are stars in the sky, there are many more opportunities for unknowns to grace your TV. An example of why that’s not a good thing: A.J. Clemente’s first seconds on air were stained with vulgarity and awkwardness that got him fired, as well as on Letterman talking about his mistakes.
#6: Hamster Mugshot
This may be the worst place a rodent has ever popped up. An anchor was providing an update on a disappearance case that had gone unsolved for years. As she names Rodney Stanger as a new suspect, viewers were shown the image of a hamster holding a movie slate. It’s onscreen moments before the camera zooms quickly back to the anchor. She manages to dismiss the picture and move on with her report, with only a faint smile as evidence that it ever happened. We’ll say it once more with feeling, when it comes to live news, proper editing is vital.
#5: Instant Karma
Arguably there is nothing more visceral than seeing or hearing someone in extreme pain and knowing exactly what is going through their mind. After trying to trick her opponent from momentarily stopping her grape stomping, the reporter falls face first into the ground. She’s clearly in extreme pain and most of us can relate. In the immediate aftermath of suffering, many of us may try to put up a front that the experience isn’t as bad as it seems; so it would take an all-encompassing pain that our brains wouldn’t be able to ignore to make us drop that façade. The end of this news segment is the incarnation of that effect and we can’t stop listening to it, though we’re also cringing at the same time.
#4: Boom Goes the Dynamite
You’d think that the two segments of the news that seem the most clear cut and easy to handle would be the weather and sports. The latter is oftentimes just spouting stats and scores with a few moments of personal opinions or witticisms thrown in. As such, many couch potatoes who love sports may fancy themselves a good fit for the role. If you happen to know someone with delusions of grandeur about their potential as a sportscaster or reporter and you want to shut them up, then this clip is for you. Sometimes incapable of even stringing a sentence together, this reporter can only spout one memorable line convincingly.
#3: Guy Mistaken for Expert
This may be the most hilarious case of mistaken identity ever recorded. Guy Goma went into the BBC News studios to interview for an IT job. But his interview took a turn when a staff member mistook him for tech journalist Guy Kewney and put Goma on live television. As “Guy Kewney” is introduced, we see the look of fear flash on his face. Against all odds, Goma is able to hold it together and answer the reporter’s questions with surprisingly good answers. Unfortunately, Guy’s quick thinking didn’t get him a job in the IT Department. But it did get him future tv appearances, for which he was actually able to prepare.
#2: We’ll Do It Live!
Unlike some of the other reporters on this list, Bill O’Reilly is a very seasoned television personality. It may be because of that that he feels comfortable being a complete dick while on set. When the teleprompter doesn’t display what he expects, instead of being a professional and working to rectify the situation, he at first barely holds in his unbridled rage, and then, completely unleashes it on those behind the scenes. The fact that he is aware that he is being filmed by the very people he unleashes on speaks to his pompous belief that they’d never share the footage with others. Luckily for all of us, he was very wrong.
Before our top pick goes on the air, here are some honorable mentions.
A Traffic Wreck of a Rap
Fly interrupts report
Congratulations Are in Order
Reporter taken out by sled
Bird Poop Report
#1: Zero Prank Radar
When Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crashed on its final approach to an airport in San Francisco, it had the focus of eyes and ears worldwide. Even in this most grave of circumstances, there are those among us that saw it as an opportunity for jokes and levity. After years of falling for fake names, even Moe from “The Simpsons” may have balked at just how ridiculous a name like Sum Ting Wong sounds when read aloud, but somehow it still made it to live television with the Bay Area’s KTVU Channel 2 news reporting several incorrect pilot names as fact.