First, may it be said that the prankster is my new hero, whoever he may be. I salute you, sir!
The “journalist,” whose actual name is apparently Krystal Ball, is the reason that every untrained 14-year-old with a smartphone is now just as important to the dissemination of information as well paid and, apparently, equally untrained professional journalists. See the smug, bitchy demeanor Ball displays in the still above? She looks that way both BEFORE and AFTER she gets pranked; classic resting bitch face (a disease whose victims I’d feel a lot worse for if it weren’t for its near 100% comorbidity with Actual Bitch Syndrome). How can you be that baseline dissatisfied with being privileged, useless, and overcompensated?
But let’s not harp TOO much on her unsavory personality: how about we concentrate on the uselessness? The caller, whose credentials the interns in the basement apparently failed to verify, regales her on a live MSNBC broadcast with his “eyewitness account” of the Ukrainian plane shooting incident: “It appeeeears,” he says, sounding every inch the military expert, “that the plane was shot down by a blast of wind from Howard Stern’s ass.”
She is clearly not listening, as she asks a follow-up question of sorts:
“So it would appear that the plane was shot down… can you tell us anything more from your military training, what sort of missile system that may have been coming from?”
If you’ve ever apprenticed in or studied journalism in any way, shape, or form, this is (or used to be, or damn well should be) the first thing you’re told: LISTEN! Sure, on TV you’ve got all the responses recorded, but how are you going to ask the best follow-up questions if you’re tuning out everything the interviewee says?
The prankster conveys this more succinctly, god bless him:
“Well, you’re a dumbass, aren’t you?”
It finally vaguely dawns on her, as though through a thick haze of California smog, that things haven’t quite gone according to protocol: “I’m sorry, sir? … All right, we’re going to take a quick break and we’ll be back with all the latest next.”
The latest what? The latest vetting mistake from your interns who can afford not to be paid at 20 years of age? The latest interview you’re going to eyebrow-pluckedly sleep your way through until someone blatantly calls the fact that you aren’t paying attention to your job?
Somebody call me when meritocracy is finally invented.
For the moment, dear citizen journalists: You know what you need to do to tell a story? You need to find out the 5 Ws: Who, What, When, Where, and Why. Then tell us, clearly. There. You are now a better journalist than anyone on television.