On-Air Phillips Mishap Blamed on Audio Operator

Aug 30, 2006  •  Post A Comment

CNN said it wasn’t Kyra Phillips’ fault that CNN viewers watching President Bush address the nation Tuesday also heard the anchor dishing in the ladies’ room and dissing her sister-in-law as a “control freak.”

“It was a technical malfunction with the audio board. We’re addressing how this happened and why it was not more promptly corrected on-air,” CNN said in a statement released Wednesday.

On industry Web sites during the 24 hours after the embarrassing incident, the savviest second-guessers were adamant that there was nothing Ms. Phillips had done to telecast the gaffe and nothing she could have done to prevent it.

They placed the blame and responsibility on the audio operator on duty at CNN during that hour. Their reasoning was that even if the audio operator could not have prevented the technical glitch, he or she seemed to have been slow at flipping the switch that would have silenced the confidential exchange.

Still, viewers of other media outlets are most likely to associate the mistake with Ms. Phillips. On NBC’s “Today” show, Matt Lauer and Ann Curry winced as they played the “control freak” sound bite. The team on Fox-owned WNYW-TV’s “Good Day New York” joked about making on-air flubs as “doing a Kyra Phillips.”