newscaster daydream on live television: picture of newscaster staring at her pen

Screengrab via ABCmediawatch/Twitter

Daydreamers rally behind news anchor fired for zoning out during live TV

She overreacted, but then so did everyone else.


David Covucci

Internet Culture

Published Apr 10, 2017   Updated May 24, 2021, 5:59 pm CDT

Literally, every single person has zonked out during a meeting or a presentation at work.

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Almost none of us have become the focus of a heated online debate that wound up making its way to the upper echelon of a legislative branch. But that’s just what happened to one Australian on-air personality.

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Natasha Exelby was at the desk of the Australian Broadcasting Network’s News 24 show Wake Up! when a prerecorded segment played. After it ended, the camera came back on her. Unfortunately, she had stopped paying attention and was instead staring aimlessly at a pen. When she finally realizes she’s back on live television, it’s amazing.

The clip was posted by @ABCmediawatch and instantly picked up support online. People loved it.

Why wouldn’t you? It is perhaps the most relatable thing since the BBC dad.

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We’ve ALL been there. Even Exelby let out an LOL online.

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Unfortunately, the executives at her network were none too pleased, and the Daily Telegraph reported that she’d been taken off the air for good.

Which didn’t sit well with people.

Including Australian MP and leader of the Labor Party Bill Shorten.

Another member of the Labor Party chimed in in support as well.

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“The idea that someone would be punished for what is a very innocent mishap is extraordinary,” said Sen. Sam Dastyari to the Sydney Morning-Herald. “If she is going to be punished for such a minor, humorous, and innocent error—I think bigger questions need to be asked about the culture of the ABC.”

Indeed. If every person who didn’t occasionally pay attention at work was fired, there’d be no one in the entire world employed.

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*First Published: Apr 10, 2017, 11:18 am CDT