6 Reporters Who Didnt Do The Research (And Paid The Price)

Interviewing a celebrity might seem exciting, but for media reporters, it’s just another exhausting day. There simply isn’t enough time to confirm exactly which superhero your subject is playing, what they’re known for, or even who they are. Sure, that’s a journalist’s entire job, but it’s so much easier to assume Reddit got it right. These folks thought they could skate by without doing the research. They were wrong.


CNN Mistakes A Gay Pride Dildo Flag For ISIS

Nowadays, ISIS has been relegated to a few isolated pockets in the Middle East, but back in 2015, they were a major threat across the region. That’s why CNN freaked out when they thought they saw an ISIS flag in London. They called in an “international terrorism” expert, and for ten minutes discussed whether or not it represented an actual threat. Somehow, none of them realized the flag in question was a gay pride flag. An explicit one.

CNNNow we’re wondering if there’s a font that’s all dildos.

To be fair, the flag is a deliberate parody of the ISIS one, created by an artist who specializes in subverting the symbols of homophobic groups with homosexual imagery. It’s fine if your average Joe mistakes it for an ISIS flag, but these were international journalists who’d been covering the Middle East for years. They should know that Arabic script and cartoonish renderings of sex toys bear little resemblance to one another. Honestly, their first clue should have been that the flag was being flown at a gay pride event …


An Interviewer Mistakes Samuel L. Jackson For Laurence Fishburne

In February 2014, Samuel L. Jackson took some time out of his busy schedule to appear on a local news show in Los Angeles promoting the RoboCop remake. The interview immediately took a turn when the anchor, Sam Rubin, asked Jackson about a Super Bowl commercial he’d recently appeared in.

The problem: He hadn’t appeared in one at all.

The bigger problem: Laurence Fishburne had.

Jackson asked, “What Super Bowl commercial?” then shouted, “I’m not Laurence Fishburne! We don’t all look alike!” The anchor repeatedly tried to move on, but Jackson wouldn’t let up. “You’re the entertainment reporter for this station? And you don’t know the difference between me and Laurence Fishburne? There must be a very short line for your job.”

Then the reporter somehow made it all worse: He tried to defend himself. “It probably would not be hard to get another person to sit right here,” he warns. You can practically feel the temperature in the room drop when Jackson responds, “Oh heeeeell noooo.” He proceeds to give the anchor a full list of people he is not, and honestly, there’s no better joke we can make than when Samuel L. Jackson explains that Morgan Freeman is “the other black credit card guy.” Jackson eventually relents to talk about working with Michael Keaton and Gary Oldman, then asks, “You do know who they all are, right? Do some research, make sure you don’t confuse them with those other white actors that are out there.” Unfortunately, he was wearing a clip-on mic, so there was nothing to drop.


Maya Angelou’s Stamp Uses Somebody Else’s Quote

Maya Angelou is one of the greatest American poets of all time, so naturally the United States Postal Service wanted to honor her with a stamp. In 2015, they did so, releasing a stamp featuring Angelou’s image and the quote “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”

US Postal ServiceIt was a tossup between that and “Real Gs move like silence in lasagna.”

It is a beautiful quote, and one Angelou frequently used … but it wasn’t hers. That quote comes from Joan Walsh Anglund’s 1967 book A Cup Of Sun. The postal service acknowledged their mistake in the press, gave proper credit to Ms. Anglund, and did absolutely nothing about the actual stamp, arguing that “The sentence held great meaning for her, and she is publicly identified with its popularity.”

Hey, if it’s good enough for a Tumblr fanpage …


A News Station Uses Nazi Imagery For A Story About Yom Kippur

In 2015, Chicago news station WGN did a segment about the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur. For Jews around the world, it is a day of repentance for all their sins. And what better way to pay respects to that somber holiday than with a picture of the Nazi-mandated yellow star badge?

WGN“We just thought they were really into The Beatles.”

The news station claimed the picture was knocking around in their saved image bank, and they innocently mistook the badge that Jews were forced to wear in Nazi Germany for the completely innocuous Star of David. Still, viewers weren’t happy, forcing the station’s general manager and news director to issue a public apology. They solemnly swore that they were “investigating how this situation occurred.”

It occurred because your graphic design intern was stoned, Greg.


Larry King Doesn’t Know Who The Beatles Are, Among Other Things

In 2007, Jerry Seinfeld came on Larry King’s show to promote Bee Movie. Quite understandably wanting to talk about anything but Bee Movie, King asked Seinfeld how long his eponymous sitcom ran, and whether or not it was his choice to end the show. Seinfeld, of course, famously ran for nine seasons, and its finale drew a record-breaking audience — not usually the case for an abruptly cancelled series. Seinfeld was immediately offended at the question, and implied that King was mentally going “downhill.”

Jerry might have had a point. In 2010, King interviewed Debra Tate, sister of murdered actress Sharon Tate. Speaking about Roman Polanski, King asked her if it’s hard to talk to the man who murdered her sister. Debra was rightly confused, because her sister was famously murdered by the Manson family; she was married to Polanski.

But wait, there’s more! In 2007, King was lucky enough to sit down with the two living Beatles. Things were going fine, until he asked Paul McCartney where he was when John was shot. It’s a sensitive topic for them, so it was essential to handle it correctly. King made it through McCartney’s answer gracefully enough. Then King turned to Ringo Starr and asked, “George, where were you?”

McCartney was visibly annoyed at the mistake, but to be fair, he’s not used to defending Starr.


An Interviewer Asks Martin Short About His Wife … Who Died Two Years Prior

In May 2012, Martin Short was out promoting Madagascar 3. All was going as well as possible while having to hype a movie starring David Schwimmer as a giraffe. Then he was booked to talk to Kathie Lee Gifford on The Today Show, and she gushed about his marriage to Nancy Dolman. This was a particular sore sport for Short since, 1) his marriage to Dolman had ended two years earlier, and 2) because she died of cancer.

Short chose not to correct her, and her co-host had to swoop in to save the day. Gifford was eventually clued into her mistake over the commercial break, so after the show came back, she apologized to Short and any viewers who may have been offended. She also later tweeted a personal apology to @MartinShort over on Twitter.

That is not Martin Short’s Twitter handle.

For a gay pride flag that’s a little more tasteful but will still anger your uptight neighbors, just stick with the standard rainbow flag.

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