2014 is off to a booming start—at least as it applies to media disasters.
Among other uncomfortable moments, this month’s list features a violent politician, a tone-deaf CEO, and a journalist who had a very exciting “breaking news” story to cover.
Without further ado, here are the five worst video media disasters of January 2014:
5. Another month, another drunken Rob Ford video
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford needs help. His well-documented struggles with alcohol and drugs have produced more than a few embarrassing moments, including one I named the worst media disaster of 2013
. In this month’s entry, Mr. Ford was caught slurring his words in a Toronto restaurant, sounding something like a Jamaican version of “Saturday Night Live” character Drunk Uncle.
4. I’ll sip some water during your water crisis
Gary Southern, the president of West Virginia’s Freedom Industries (the company responsible for contaminating the local water supply for 300,000 residents), delivered a dreadful first press conference. Although much of it was a mess, most of the media coverage focused on his unfortunate habit of sipping bottled water throughout the press conference—off-putting behavior, considering that hundreds of thousands in that region were without potable water.
That wasn’t the only problem with his press conference. Click here
to read about an odd moment in which a reporter demanded that Southern return to the microphones.
3. We have an important “breaking news” story
MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell was having an important conversation about the NSA with a former congresswoman when she abruptly cut off the conversation to report some “breaking news.”
What was the breaking news? Well, this one you have to watch for yourself. Just try to do it without shaking your head.
2. I’ll break you in half, like a boy
When a cable TV reporter asked U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) of Staten Island about an ethics scandal moments after the State of the Union Address, Grimm ended the interview abruptly. But after the reporter wrapped up the piece—and Grimm presumably thought they were no longer on camera—he approached the reporter and issued a violent threat. (The fact that Grimm is a former FBI agent added a particularly menacing quality to his threat.)
The audio is tough to hear—but Grimm tells him:
“Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again, I’ll throw you off this f****g balcony…You’re not a man. I could break you in half.”
Grimm’s on-camera threat inspired other reporters to resurrect Grimm’s ethical charges. His threat—not the reporter’s fair question—put the congressman’s scandal back into the headlines.
1. A famous film director flees the stage
Michael Bay—a director and producer whose films include “Armageddon,” “Transformers,” and the remake of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”—had a real-life horror moment during the opening seconds of a speech he was set to deliver at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
When he hit the stage, his teleprompter wasn’t in the right place. Without a scriptwriter nearby, Bay was at a complete loss. So he stopped. And restarted. And stopped again. Then, when all else failed, he walked off the stage, tossing out only a mumbled “I’m sorry.”
Bay has created a lot of cringe-worthy scenes in his career, but no others have been this difficult to watch.
[RELATED: Learn to write a great speech, no matter what time crunch you're in.]
Learn from his mistake by clicking here
to see five things Bay could have done to rescue that moment.
Bonus: Actress Jacqueline Bisset accepts an award
Actress Jacqueline Bisset waited 47 years to win her first Golden Globe, so it’s easy to understand why she became overwhelmed when finally awarded the coveted prize. But there’s a fine line between “excited” and “bizarre”—and her acceptance speech was so loopy that the anchors of “Saturday Night Live” Weekend Update took notice.
The real version:
“Saturday Night Live” version:
Brad Phillips is author of The Media Training Bible: 101 Things You Absolutely, Positively Need to Know Before Your Next Interview. He is also the president of Phillips Media Relations, a media and presentation training firm, and blogs at Mr. Media Training, where a version of this story first appeared.