They say that technological adaptation is driven by porn. That is wrong. It is driven by CNN. The network that brought you both hologram Will.i.am and hologram sheep has a new tool in its arsenal: the Amazing Shrinking Reporter™.
On Friday's edition of The Lead with Jake Tapper — a new show for which Tapper pledged he'd "take risks" — Emmy-winning reporter Tom Foreman (also the guy with the sheep) took the risk of Fantastic Voyage-style interactions with several dangerous asteroids. When we say Fantastic Voyage-style, by the way, we mean "predicated on corny special effects."
First, an important caveat: We did not have the sound turned up on our office television while witnessing this segment. It is possible that while Foreman was playing with his nonexistent space rocks, he was providing valuable asteroid-survival tips and/or explicating NASA's mission to obliterate the threat posed by interstellar projectiles. It is also possible he was saying things like "Woah!" and "Look at the size of this!" in the manner of CNN's Wolf Blitzer.
Foreman was standing on the surface of the moon (not really; it was a special effect) marveling at a large crater when he turned. And, whammo!, an asteroid fell beside him.
At this point he probably said something like, "This asteroid is only the size of a person, etc.," because that's how big it was. In astronomical terms it was one foreman tall.
Then Foreman turned the other direction and, bam!, asteroid number two appeared. It was bigger. Maybe twenty foremans. Big.
It is safe to assume that the second asteroid had some historical significance. Perhaps it was the one that passed over Russia in February. Perhaps it wasn't. Foreman had comments on it.
But if you look closely, you'll notice that Foreman is standing on a dark gray surface of some kind. Could it be?
Yes. Foreman was standing on a giant asteroid, perhaps one that was 100 foremans tall, or perhaps more, or fewer. It is possible — probable, even — that this represented the very asteroid that was only minutes from obliterating Foreman entirely.
For the whole time he spoke, that asteroid kept creeping closer and closer, second after second ticking away (on CNN's asteroid countdown clock, no less) as Foreman paraded around on a studio set while computers did the hard work of making his report seem exciting. As Foreman wrapped up, it was time for Tapper to hand his show off to CNN's Wolf Blitzer, with only seconds on the clock.
Tapper: On the brink of this near-Armageddon, our own Wolf Blitzer. He still bothered to show up to work. He even bothered to wear a tie. Wolf, it's passing by right now. I don't know if you can feel it. But if something this big were to hit Earth [some joke about the fate of The Situation Room].
Blitzer: Right now, we can laugh. 3.6 million miles away. Not very close.
No, the asteroid did not hit the Earth, as everyone knew it wouldn't. But it was still a great moment for the media and congratulations are in order all around.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.