Dazzling show of ineptitude finds a following for the wrong reasons

2013-08-24 00:00

IN the greater scheme of things, sport is unlikely to be a huge component of the latest 24-hour news channel to hit South African television screens on DStv channel 405.

But if doing little things well is, indeed, a pointer to larger-scale success, then ANN7 (Africa News Network) has a formidable array of lessons to learn as it seeks to establish itself in the country.

The Gupta-backed channel brazenly claims it will set “new benchmarks in credibility and finesse”. However, its first couple of days in operation have been marked by a mini-cult following for all the wrong reasons: let’s just say that Basil Fawlty’s inimitable presence was all that was missing from the channel’s quite dazzling shows of ineptitude.

ANN7’s sport segments certainly haven’t escaped the welter of scorn.

A particular cricket clip that is in widespread circulation in the unforgiving online world may already have done image damage. The fledgling organisation will do quite well to recover from its impact.

For those who may not yet have had the “pleasure” of seeing it, one of their newsreaders — not exactly painting a picture of confidence and serenity on what was clearly a fraught opening night on Wednesday — stammered her way incoherently through a description of the first day’s events in the final Ashes Test at The Oval.

“It was a bit of a see-saw affair for both teams,” she quickly and slightly quirkily informed us (er, were there any others?).

“James Anderson found some swing in the ball.” (If he’d found some swing in his left sock, he really would be the equal of our own Dale Steyn, wouldn’t he?)

“Young prospect Chris Rogers ...”. (That would have been an accurate statement were it not for the fact that the Aussie opener is 35.)

“Shane Watson bullied his ... his ... his ... (way, presumably?) ... to only the third Test of the century.” (Wow, now that was a remarkable stat, indeed, even as I suspect she meant the third century of Watson’s own Test career.)

She then referred to “captain Michelle Clarke” (Michael might be a little bemused by his sudden gender change.

No doubt hardly aided by an eccentric and/or wobbly teleprompter, she described the close-of-play score as “three hundred and seven four four”.

Stumps, somehow, seemed a merciful release, at least as far as ANN7 was concerned.

It wasn’t the only obscenely screwed-up sports slot of the night; there’s another fairly aptly titled Game On, where not one but two hapless presenters were caught like rabbits in the headlights. It’s headed for YouTube stardom.

Beyond just their sport, the channel has taken a swift pounding in website comment forums. I couldn’t stifle a chuckle as one wag suggested: “Is this being broadcast from a Waterkloof Air Base hangar?”

Things can only get better.

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