CNN anchor Ashleigh Banfield and HLN anchor Nancy Grace gave eagle-eyed viewers some mild laughs following yesterday's verdict in the Jodi Arias trial as they appeared in a split-screen setup talking via satellite uplink even though they were seated right next to each other.
The Atlantic Wire's Dashiell Bennett and Philip Bump caught the "Anchorman"-esque bit of comedy and documented it with several animated GIF images showing various vehicles passing in the background from each anchor's camera.
Amusingly, the fact that both women appear to be seated no more than a few feet apart from each other was never disclosed to CNN viewers.
The Atlantic writers also noted that CNN had sent an inordinate amount of correspondents to cover the trial, all of whom were talking to each other from various close locations:
Later, Banfield would conduct another interview (this time about Arias) with another Headline News host who was in a different location than Grace, but still in the same parking lot; plus a third HLN regular somewhere else in the Phoenix area. (Also, outdoors and presumably close by.) And don't forget the CNN reporter who is standing across the street from her, waiting in front of the courthouse. A four-headed interview with four people in the exact same city covering the exact same story on at least three different programs on two different networks owned by the same company. So much for corporate synergy.
While the situation above is indeed absurd, what is even more ridiculous is that the Arias trial, which actually is of little legal or political significance, was covered far more by CNN than the far more nationally pertinent trial of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell. In the same vein, the left-leaning cable news channel was also much less interested in the congressional hearings about the Benghazi, Libya terrorist attacks. As NB's Matt Hadro noted yesterday evening:
On Wednesday evening, CNN barely covered the congressional hearing on the Benghazi attack from earlier that afternoon. Instead, the network provided wall-to-wall coverage of the Jodi Arias trial verdict and the Cleveland kidnappings.
From the hours of 5 p.m. until 11 p.m. ET, CNN gave a whopping 4 hours, 9 minutes of coverage to the two crime stories, but a measly eight minutes to Benghazi -- over 30 times more coverage. And three of CNN's prime-time shows didn't even mention Benghazi.
The 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. ET hours of Anderson Cooper 360 featured over one hour and twenty minutes of material on Arias and the Cleveland abduction, but not a second on the hearing. The 9 p.m. ET hour of Piers Morgan Live aired over 40 minutes on the two stories, but completely ignored the Benghazi hearing.
Ironically, CNN's Wolf Blitzer admitted that the hearing was dwarfed by the tabloid crime stories: "It's been nearly lost amid in a lot of the glare today, the breaking news coming out of Cleveland and Phoenix, but September's deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was the subject of a very important all-day hearing on Capitol Hill."