I Feel Bad for Former North Dakota News Anchor, AJ Clemente

In case you haven’t been following the late breaking news from Bismarck, North Dakota. Newly hired, weekend news anchor AJ Clemente was fired due to saying some bad words. In fact, they were the first words the guy every said… and pretty much his last.

According to the apology given by KFYR, AJ Clemente did not realize his mic was hot, and was apparently reading over the night’s top stories.

Here’s the clip courtesy of gawker.com (NOTE: If you are at work DON'T WATCH. No more people need to be fired because of this mistake).

Here are my thoughts:

  • It looks like both anchors are quite surprised by what just happened. It seems as if neither of them were prepared for the newscast to begin.
  • AJ is visibly nervous when Van asks him to talk about himself, which is understandable. People argue that he sounds like an idiot regardless of the foul language. I say, it is his first night on the job. Cut him some slack. The term rookie mistake exists for a reason.
  • It is a weekend 11:00 p.m. news cast. Who is watching? It isn’t like Matt Lauer dropped the f-bomb on the Today Show or Diane Sawyer went bat crap crazy reporting the nightly news. It is 11:00 p.m. news… on the weekend...in Bismarck…North Dakota. Are you kidding me?
  • In most live news casts there is a seven second delay planned for things like this. Couldn’t have someone just hit the beep button and helped this poor kid out?
  • It isn’t as if the 47 people that were actually watching this newscast had never heard those words before.
  • I have lip read coaches and athletes say much worse things from the sidelines on national primetime television. They aren’t getting fired. Just sayin'.
  • With everything that has happened in this country in the last seven days, I think that perhaps firing someone over some swear words (especially when he honestly thought no one could hear) is a little much. Priorities, people. Priorities.

While I realize that using this kind of language in this type of situation is inappropriate, I think that it was an honest mistake. We've all made them. Maybe I just like giving people the benefit of the doubt, but I would be willing to bet he learned his lesson and it would definitely not have happened again.

I feel some sympathy for AJ. He probably went through a pretty intensive interview process and had to read the news for producers a few times. He was probably so excited to get this job. We all know what it is like to be excited when we get offered a new job. Then, he had to pack up all his stuff, move all the way to Bismarck, far away from family and friends. Now, he has to pack up again and try and find another job. Personally, I would HATE to drive a U Haul by myself through North Dakota.

AJ, I wish you the best of luck in your new endeavors.

I know nothing about television other than I watch a lot of it and I, in no way, have any connections with any Chicago affiliates, but I say AJ should try Chicago.

From what I know living here my whole life, a few curse words are the least of our problems.

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