The tech story of the week is undoubtedly the imminent debut of the headphone-jack-free iPhone 7, introduced during Apple’s annual event in San Francisco. But it was Apple’s first generation iPhone that ushered in the era of the smartphone back in 2007, and the world has found itself unable to look up ever since. Nine years later, those fascinating little glowing rectangles are as hypnotic as ever. No one is immune to their charms, not even reporters, anchors, politicians, and pundits. That much is clear from a new YouTube compilation called “Best Smartphone Funny News Bloopers,” a 12-minute supercut from News Be Funny. Here, in one place, are numerous examples of live news broadcasts and ostensibly serious interviews being either ruined or greatly improved by smartphones.
Generally, the bloopers fall into one of two categories. Either the iPhone addicts are caught checking their phones instead of paying attention to their surroundings or the infernal devices start beeping, chiming, and buzzing at highly inconvenient times. Among the high-profile victims here: Tom Brokaw, Dan Rather, and Emma Watson. To their credit, all handle the embarrassing situation with aplomb.
Silly as it is, the video does bring up a pressing question. What is a news reporter to do when a smartphone starts ringing during a broadcast? Ignore it? Answer it? Throw it across the room? All of those strategies are attempted here, and all have their downsides. There are no winners here, just different degrees of losers. One hapless weatherman accidentally picks up his phone instead of his “clicker” and then seems bewildered when the device has no effect on the map behind him. But the pièce de résistance arrives at the 9:34 mark, when KTLA reporter Eric Spillman decides to harass and insult some Apple superfans waiting in line for the latest iPhone at a store in Burbank. His attempts at comedy go over very, very poorly to say the least. But, god bless him, he keeps at it.