Photo Credit: Courtesy of Diane Sawyer/Twitter
It can't be easy manning the anchor desk of a major network news show on election night. You have to spend hour upon hour, waiting for ballot results while filling your airtime with…well, lots of things. Veteran journalists like Diane Sawyer and her ABC News coanchor George Stephanopoulos interview political pundits about the candidates' chances of winning, check in with reporters at exit-poll stations, explain how the electoral college works, and generally try to keep the newscast entertaining. In that last respect, Sawyer won the night. But not in a way she would have hoped.
At a certain point during ABC News' coverage, viewers began to notice that Sawyer was speaking more slowly than usual, leaning on the anchor desk and rambling. "OK," she said at one point, "I wanna -- can we have our music, because this is another big one here? Minnesota we're ready to project Minnesota rrright now...Well, tonight we know that President Barack has won Minnesota," she said.
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Soon enough, social media users were tweeting jokes and commentary about Sawyer's loosy-goosy performance on one of the most-watched nights of network news TV.
"Everyone, let's switch to ABC," tweeted the writer John Gruber. "I think Diane Sawyer is drunk."
"And Diane Sawyer declares tonight's winner is... chardonnay!" tweeted the rock band They Might Be Giants.
"I'll have what Diane Sawyer is having," tweeted the singer Josh Groban.
And so on. Scores of Twitter users joined in, and someone even created a hashtag, @DrnkDianeSawyer, with tweets like "OK, I'm going to pass out now. Wake me up when#Romney concedes the race."
To be sure, there were those who defended her. "Diane Sawyer's name is trending," tweeted New York Times reporter Brian Stelter. "Many people saying she seems drunk on air. Alternative theory: she gets this way when she's really tired."
A source from ABC News agrees with Stelter. "Diane's fine, she's exhausted," they said to the Daily Mail, also admitting that Sawyer's lack of sleep "may have come at the expense of the broadcast."
Who can blame her? The exhaustive election coverage has arrived right on the heels of Hurricane Sandy, which has propelled TV journalists to work much longer hours than usual these past two weeks. Can we give the woman the benefit of the doubt, people?
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