Conan O’Brien and his indefatigable video editors have unleashed another clip reel of local TV newspeople across the country reading the same lame joke off the same lame script, dozens of times. For this installment, the anchors bring a spirit of pre-packaged puckishness to their report on a stunning new trend: people buying things for themselves on the Internet.
As the repeated utterances of “an item or two or 10” stack up, the phrase loses whatever scant hokey significance it had to begin with, and the plasticity of local TV news is laid bare—or even more bare than it already is. This is one of Conan’s funniest recurring bits, and after the show caught news anchors parroting “Yeah, baby!” in response to Mike Myers baby news, Poynter decided to investigate why these cheesy lines spread so widely across the nation’s newscasts. As you might imagine, it’s a combination of syndicated material, budget squeezes, and laziness. The phenomenon is unlikely to abate anytime soon, so don’t be surprised if your local station recycles a news item or two or 10 in tonight’s broadcast.