Another year is about to pass, which means we’ve managed to survive 12 months of cable news—and endure some fantastically awful segments that the networks churned out. But that doesn’t mean we emerged unscathed! Whether it was calling the president of the United States a “pussy” on live television or relentlessly covering Donald Trump’s circuslike presidential campaign, cable news had plenty of lowlights in 2015. Here are some of the most memorable ones:
San Bernardino shooting
Days after the shooting in San Bernardino, California, several media outlets were able to get inside the home of the two suspected shooters—access that involved a crowbar and a cooperative landlord. Despite the questionable circumstances, reporters from a slew of networks, including CNN and MSNBC, swarmed the residence. The resulting circus of cable TV coverage even disturbed some network hosts.
“I’m having chills down my spine, what I’m seeing here,” said CNN security analyst Harry Houck, as reporters on the scene continued to film throughout the home. “This apartment is clearly full of evidence.”
At one point, an MSNBC reporter zoomed in on a driver’s license that likely belonged to one of the suspects’ relatives.
MSNBC just doxed Rafia Farook, mother of a terrorist, on live television. I’ve blurred the important bits. pic.twitter.com/VqPwT60yVY
— David Boles (@DavidBoles) December 4, 2015
Insulting the president
A Fox News contributor abandoned every sense of decorum when he slammed President Barack Obama’s terrorism strategy and called him a “pussy” on live television. The network suspended him for two weeks, finally answering the question we’ve all wondered: “Just what does it take to get suspended from Fox News?”
Migrant crisis and Syrian refugees
The international effort to resettle Syrian refugees sparked widespread concern about how refugees are vetted when they seek to be admitted into the United States, particularly in light of the deadly attacks in Paris. Instead of taking time to explain the complex and rigorous process, cable news shows often appeared to inflame safety concerns with misleading portrayals of refugees escaping violence in Europe and the Middle East:
Fox News also appeared to lend legitimacy to a biblical prophecy that some have used speculate that the Syrian crisis may signal the end of times. Watch the report on the “spooky passage” below:
Gun control and mass shootings
Amid calls to strengthen gun control laws and end the gun violence epidemic, Fox & Friends aired a segment about how to teach kids how to take down an active shooter with these self-defense skills:
When protests erupted in Baltimore over the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old Baltimore resident who died from a spinal cord injury while in police custody, CNN chose to ignore the demonstrations in favor of covering every second of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
If you were seeking coverage of the rallies, contributor Errol Louis suggested viewers could “find a live feed” somewhere else.
When the network did report on Gray later, CNN led one online story by describing Gray as the “son of an illiterate heroin addict.”
— Lauren Krisai (@laurenkrisai) November 30, 2015
There are myriad factors that have led to the rise of Donald Trump as a major GOP presidential candidate.
After announcing his plan to bar all Muslims from entering the United States if elected president, a slew of cable news shows scrambled to talk to Trump about the proposal, which gave Trump a huge platform for his offensive ideas:
Trump calls for banning Muslims, then gets to call into four networks: pic.twitter.com/SidPfqxodW
— Michael Calderone (@mlcalderone) December 8, 2015
In one of the creepier clips of the year, Fox News featured an all-male panel to opine on how a woman should dress in public. The clothing item in question was leggings. In the segment, the official “Panel of Fathers” ruminates over “lady parts” and whether they’re comfortable with the “women in their life parading in public with leggings, because they ain’t pants.”
In which Fox News, a news organization, lends legitimacy to this photo of a “guardian angel.”
WATCH! Do you see the ‘guardian angel’? https://t.co/GycMWjJChh
— FOX & Friends (@foxandfriends) December 15, 2015