The television news industry had its high points in 2013, from coverage of the death of Nelson Mandela to the U.S. government shutdown, but it also had its share of embarrassing moments, writes Scott Collins in the Los Angeles Times.
Chief among them was “Today” host Matt Lauer’s decision to dress up as Pamela Anderson’s "Baywatch" character, C.J. Parker, for Halloween.
“After his reputation got beat up in the Ann Curry debacle, the ‘Today’ host didn’t need this. But hey, he did it to himself. No one made him don a blond wig and a red one-piece,” Collins writes.
The second most embarrassing moment was the apology from “60 Minutes” for its Benghazi report. “Whoops. CBS’s news magazine had a superb track record for accuracy — until this year,” Collins writes, adding that correspondent Lara Logan’s apology “wasn’t good enough — CBS ended up handing Logan and her producer a suspension.”
The third-place event was the fake town crier who announced the royal baby, with CNN explaining that the “town crier” was a traditional role in England before the Internet age.
“Left unexplained was that the man — one Tony Appleton — had no official role or connection to Buckingham Palace and merely does his crier act for corporate events and the like," Collins writes. "In other words, he was promoting himself — and fooling the entire media world to boot. Hear ye, hear ye, that was well-played!”
No. 4 : Megyn Kelly’s “Santa Claus race war,” in which the Fox News host informed viewers that Santa Claus is white. “Kelly later explained that the segment was supposed to be ‘tongue in cheek.’ If so, the whole situation showed why news networks should leave the funny stuff to Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert,” Collins notes.
No. 5: KTVU-TV’s “whopper” of a mistake, when it reported bogus names (“Captain Sum Ting Wong”) for the crew members on Asiana flight 214, which had crashed. “Whether you found the gaffe offensive or funny, it ended up having serious consequences," Collins notes. "KTVU fired three producers deemed responsible for the incident, and Asiana threatened to sue the station (although it later dropped the suit)."