ABC News: The Anchors Are Laughing; the Network Is Not
Ryan Owens, Taina Hernandez Laugh It Up During Serious Stories on World News Now
By Marisa Guthrie -- Broadcasting & Cable, 9/10/2007 8:08:00 AM
News bloopers have long been an online-video staple, with clips of anchors losing their composure almost a genre unto themselves. But lately, it seems that an inordinate number of those clips are coming from ABC News.
By now, you probably know about World News Now’s Ryan Owens and Taina Hernandez, the anchors of ABC News’ overnight newscast, who inexplicably cracked up while reporting on actor Owen Wilson’s suicide attempt last month. The clip -- and a subsequent on-air apology -- has been circulating via YouTube for the past couple of weeks.
Unlike Merry Miller, however, the poor ABC News Now rookie who became a viral sensation this summer thanks to her cringe-inducing interview with actress Holly Hunter, Owens and Hernandez are serial offenders.
A collection of clips curated by a YouTuber known as bigboss969696 shows that in the past three months alone, the duo has giggled through segments on such lighthearted topics as terrorism, wildfires, breast cancer and the Iraq war. At one point, Owens and Hernandez (known online as “The Laughing Taina”) break into laughter while reporting the death toll from flooding in Texas.
Taken together, the clips are hard to dismiss as isolated incidents.
All of this comes at a time when ABC News is resurgent: World News has surpassed longtime leader NBC Nightly News to become the No. 1 evening newscast; GMA’s morning gains have Today looking over its shoulder; and Nightline has grown its 11:35 p.m. audience in the face of an entertainment division just begging to take over its time period.
So it’s all the more puzzling that ABC News would countenance such sophomoric antics. Said one ABC News staffer, “Isn’t anyone watching this stuff?”
ABC News senior vice president Jeffrey Schneider conceded that the anchors’ behavior during the Owen Wilson segment was “clearly inappropriate.” They were reprimanded, he added, and they have apologized. He did not comment on the other incidents.
According to another ABC News source, what began as lighthearted banter between the anchors has gotten completely out of hand. (Neither Owens nor Hernandez responded to requests for comment.)
No doubt Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart has inspired many newscasters to take themselves a bit less seriously. But while there’s certainly room for a little irreverence on a program broadcast at 3 a.m., World News Now purports to be a real news program that bears the name brand of ABC’s nightly newscast.
And thanks to the viral nature of the Web, it isn’t just insomniacs who are watching.
“This is not good for the brand,” said Andrew Tyndall, a B&C contributing editor and publisher of the Tyndall Report, which analyzes television news. “This is an example of how the new rules apply, especially when it comes to bloopers. The things that spread like wildfire are the bloopers, not excellence.”
Yes, the defendant has mental problems. But notice the interviewer/activist/reporter: he clearly had an agenda, asking her loaded questions. As usual, the interviewee got defensive. Compare this: Why the drastic change of appearance relative to how you appeared in pictures with your ex-boyfriend? vs. the way the reporter asked the question. In every question he wanted a crazed, rage filled response from the killer. But he didn't get it so he got more and more personal in his questioning. She did not get defensive, but once. That, being called a 'hater" really got to the interviewer. She won the battle; he lost. He was too smug, an adjective he named her after the interview. He lost. He knew it by going after her on camera AFTER the interview was over. This was a time when could not outsmart him, pointing his smug, arrogance back at him. He could only win when he had no opponent. Not a seasoned veteran, this reporter.
No, she's simply a cold-blooded killer. She did it out of anger/rage, but that is not a valid defense. Owens, you have a lot to learn.
Tom Moore, MA - 5/23/2013 1:45:41 AM EDT
ryan owens is using a very old word FOREMAN!!!!! THAT WORD HAS NOT BEEN USED SINCE THE 80'S, THE CORRECT WORD IS FOREPERSON.......would someone please tell this news guy he is degrading women when using this word.......he just used it for the jodi aries trial......please make correction so women can keep going forwar not backward.
laura kruger - 5/6/2013 11:57:16 AM EDT
Do NOT like Dianna Perez. Whats up with all the dumb mouth gestures? She's talking so fast most of the time, can't understand her. Won't be watching because of her. She's to weird acting!! And all of this was just in one airing- morning of Wednesday March 20th.
Sue Lane - 3/20/2013 4:20:18 AM EDT
I just watched my first and last ABC Morning News Now. The story about the lady that had a baby on the way to the hospital was disrespectful and amaturish. I wasn't impressed before that story, but it is early in the morning and I was overlooking the unprofessional manor the news was being delivered.
Barb Mishler - 3/14/2013 5:18:18 AM EDT
They suck! I gave them a week to get to see if maybe it would get any better. Well it didn't. Can't even take what they're saying seriously. See ya later abc news. I won't be back until your World News now anchors are gone. Bye-bye:D
Richard - 2/12/2013 4:27:34 AM EST
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