At least that’s what they’d have us believe. Reporters doing animal reports stand there delivering information like some objective beacons of knowledge, when we all know the level of vanity required to presume you belong on camera — especially with animals. We all know this because, on some level, we all desire it.
Leave it to non-humans to rip aside this facade — and leave nothing but gashes and bruises for the world to see.
1. Jeff Corwin and the Elephant
Coming to you from an "elephant rescue center" in Cambodia, Animal Planet's Jeff Corwin (rhymes with "Steve Erwin" in Australia) stands between CNN's Anderson Cooper and a bathing pachyderm.
This clip aired as part of CNN's own segment, "most popular video @ CNN.com". It's presented by a cute blonde who, safe back at the studios, "reports" on the horrific details everyone is ROTFLing about in front of their PCs. Hear the other anchor chuckle and say "gosh..." as Corwin, voted one of People Magazine's "most beautiful people" in 2002, screams in pain with the elephant's trunk constricting around his arm and thrashing him underwater. "We understand he was hurt," says the blonde. "Watch it one more time..."
Then one of the elephant handlers zaps the animal with a cattle prod as iron man Anderson Cooper, with seemingly no regard for his own well-being, calmly helps Corwin out of the water. There were claims on the internet that the elephant was euthanized afterwards, but that claim is disputed by Corwin. Corwin also claims to be related to Dracula.
2. "This Little Guy's Havin' Fun"
In yet another case of TV news cannibalism, a local Fox channel in Cleveland delivers a report on a reporter's report (because of popular demand, of course) — in which she gets attacked by a cat. This time it's the cute blonde reporter, Kathleen Cochrane, who gets the business end of a pair of sharp claws.
"No, no, no," insists Cochrane in a post-interview, "I was not crying. I was instantly laughing." Decide for yourself if, after the cat releases her face from its claws, she doesn't give a bit of a whimper.
Because angry animals + television cameras = irony, this had to be a sympathy piece as well. The storyline: Becky the cat, who we later see playfully and oh-so-sweetly leaping around an empty studio desk, is up for adoption. Poor Becky the cat had been shot by a BB gun, broke her front leg, and had her tail torn off. Reporter Cochrane was only trying to help.
As the male anchor in the studio puts it: "Becky is a very 'special' cat, who just needs a good home."
3. The Calmest Member of the Farm
The reporter in this short and sweet piece is foreign, and the clip is narrated by an English speaker. She introduces the bear, Manya, "the calmest member of the farm," to emphasize just how ruthless bears can be. Right before the dreadful moment, the reporter is laughing, and we see just how badly humans are at reading animals. She is giggling, interpreting the bear's nose nudges and tongue-flaps as playful, or even affectionate.
I think you know what happens next.
4. Pinky the Loving Cat
This is a classic, and always worth another look. Kathleen Cochrane should have watched it before doing her piece, because it's also an attempt to find a home for an orphaned cat.
"Son of a bitch," says Pinky's male human benefactor, after the attack. "Excuse my language."
After what you just went through? You are excused! Seriously. There isn't a cartoon by Chuck Jones that portrays an animal more outlandishly animated than what we see in this video. If cats can be possessed by demons, then I'd swear at least half a dozen came into Pinky's body at once — half a dozen demons starving for human testicles.
"He's a very loving cat," says the man right before the banshees arrive and Pinky starts pinwheeling on the end of his leash.
"We got a wildcat on our hands," the man jokes unsuspectingly. "Someone get a catch pole cuz I'm not picking him up." Pinky tangles himself in the leash around the man's upper leg, then strikes with his teeth and claws, bearing down on fleshy human groin meat.
The next time you hear someone utter sarcastically, "Yeah, and Pinky's a very loving cat," you'll know they're calling bullshit on something.
5. Leaping Lizard
This one is pretty light-hearted. In fact, except for the utter panic of the reporter, it doesn't qualify as an "attack." The lizard probably thought the dude was a tree or something.
Right from the start, double-entendre sets the mood. "Let's see how long it is, let's hold it out," says the anchorman regarding a snake that his animal handling guest is showcasing. But one of the lizards waiting off to the side gets, well, jumpy.
It might as well have been a ravenous land barracuda that hurled itself onto the reporter's jacket, because that's the only thing warranting the girlie reaction that results. Almost as amusing is watching him then try to deal with his own embarrassment.
Bonus: When People Attack
This is the fiercest confrontation of all, and it shows that animals aren't the only ones who will attack reporters. It's so bad, Matt Lauer asks the reporter later why the cameraman didn't stop taping to help. (It's not like he was in the Sudan or something — this was San Diego!)
Investigative reporter John Mattes is ambushed by "suspects" in his real estate scam piece. The buildup is raw and intense, starting with water thrown on the camera and ending with Middle Easterners being arrested at gunpoint. In between there are strikes to the face, punches to the face, tackling, kicking — and blood.
As the anchor puts it: "Mattes told CNN he suffered cracked ribs and human bite marks, along with the obvious damage to his face..."
We humans are so evolved...
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