Process Fun of the Week: It's a baptism of f*** for one newsreader

Add bookmark

Sam Miranda

It's been another difficult week for the media - the Associated Press news agency had its Twitter account hacked, and a bogus tweet stating Barack Obama was injured in a White House bomb began circulating. The incident rattled the stock market, with the Dow Jones industrial average plunging 100 points in the space of two minutes.

But true to our title, we've decided to focus on a light-hearted gaffe, even if the process element is a little out of left field.

It's disconcerting to watch a dreary-eyed newsreader deliver a monotonic address from the autocue. But if it's your first day on the job, it's worth speaking only when prompted to master the on-air, off-air dynamic.

Sadly, this concept was lost on rookie news presenter A.J. Clemente at North Dakota news station KFYR. Clemente launched into his first broadcast with a profanity - "F****** S***" - oblivious to the fact he was on air. Clearly wincing from his error, Clemente bumbled his way through his introduction, before delivering news of a fatal crash.

Much to the dismay of the public, Clemente was dismissed from his role, declaring on Twitter "Rookie mistake. I'm a free agent. Can't help but laugh at myself." Process moral of the story? The autocue is a handy mistake-proofing tool - stick to it if you've got a bout of verbal diarrhea.

Clemente isn't the only one to have endured embarrassing run-ins with the microphone.

In 2010, beleagured UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown's re-election campaign hit rock bottom. After a day delivering his message on the streets, he clearly thought the coast was clear as he’d gotten back into the car. He referred to one woman as a "bigot" after she had questioned his policy on immigration. The only trouble was that unbeknownst to him and his staffers his microphone was still broadcasting! It was the nail in the coffin for a torrid campaign, as he was duly pilloried in the media for losing his cool.

Then in 2011, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy's private chat with Barack Obama was picked up and thrust into the public domain. It was probably the only consensus to come out of the G20 Summit - referring to Israeli leader Binyamin Netanyahu, Sarkozy muttered "I can't stand him, he's a liar," with Obama acknowledging, "You're fed up with him? I deal with him every day."