iPhone line-waiter strikes back at jackass TV reporter

UPDATE: Original BB Gadget post about this video here.

An obnoxious TV reporter went to Burbank to ask stupid questions to people waiting in line for the new iPhone. I was delighted to see that my pal Jeff, or his identical twin brother (he really has one) told the reporter he was a jackass. (via Merlin Mann)


  1. As a journalist, I’m glad to see that line-waiter give that guy what he deserved. I’m so sick of this kind of TV “reporting.”

    He didn’t get intimidated by the camera into playing along. He called the reporter (and his bosses) on their bull***t, and hopefully they’ll think twice next time they opt to make fun of geeks instead of reporting on, oh, I don’t know, the impact of technology on daily life… local politics… the war…

    “Do you call this journalism?” No, I don’t. I call it waste of time and energy.

  2. I think local news these days actually spends a grand total of three minutes actually reporting the news in every broadcast.

    But yeah. Your buddy was right. The guy was a total jackass, and he probably could have asked more relevant questions. Instead, he just wanted to waste his time being an annoying asshat asking vapid and pointless questions which no one really cared about.

    But, his hair sure looked nice.

  3. Totally inappropriate question. It’s not like they were waiting in line for an Xbox, or a movie showing at 12:01am the day of release.

  4. Eric Spillman is actually a good reporter, its the Tribune Company that he works for that wants Jackass morning shows .

  5. Jackass, yes…
    Did he have something of a legitimate point? Well…

    And Jimbuck, are you really trying to draw a distinction between waiting all day for a phone you could just as easily get a couple days later for less of a wait, and an xbox or movie premier? You are joking, right?

  6. In the context of LA’s morning news circuit (ktla, myfoxla, etc), this is unfortunately what passes for journalism. I can’t stand these anchors and their wild and wacky antics, so I watch Jack Hanna in the morning instead.

  7. “Did he have something of a legitimate point? Well…”

    #5 No he didn’t have a point. If he did it was an asinine or baseless point and it says something about you if you entertain it.

    I wouldn’t wait in a line for a gadget but i wouldn’t think it says anything about someone’s sex life. Correlating gadget/nerd related things with virginity is humor that shouldn’t survive long after you leave high school. You’re a small person if you find that type of joke clever in any way, and even more so if you’re willing to consider it as a possible axiom.

  8. If just ONE person nearby in line backed Jeff up, “This guy is right, you ARE a jackass!” — they could’ve gotten the whole line of people shouting “JACKASS!!” at that twit in no time, sending him and his sniveling, grimacing, begging-to-be-punched puss away with tail firmly between legs.

    Used to be pinheaded, designed-to-offend questions like those from this jerkweed were the sole province of Howard Stern and his ilk. Nice to see mainstream media has caught up in the lowest common denomiator race (end sarcasm).

  9. I was in San Francisco yesterday, on a spectacularly beautiful day, and saw a bunch of morons lined up in front of the Apple store in Chestnut Street waiting for an iPhone. I can think of very few things that are more stupid. So they can get a phone a couple of days before others? Do they have no lives at all? They couldn’t think of anything more interesting to do with their lives?

    It’s not like lining up for a scarce commodity like concert tickets; Apple isn’t going to sell out.

    But since this is a home of Apple idolatry, I suppose we have to conclude that it is the reporter, not the no-lifers standing in line, who is the idiot.

  10. @Brewtown:

    “Did he have something of a legitimate point? Well…”

    No, he really didn’t. If people want to spend their time and money on an absolutely harmless hobby, there’s no point to be made. Why don’t we ask the people who stand in line for Superbowl tickets the same question?

    The whole jocks vs. nerds, “gadgets are for fags!” mentality is rapidly becoming antiquated and, as we’re finally, thankfully seeing, shunned and ridiculed for the idiotic, high-fiving frat boy nonsense that it is.

  11. I am pretty sure that’s Michaela Pereira , of “Internet Tonight” fame.

    Think “RocketBoom”, but funnier, longer format, and on ZDTV (pre-TechTV / G4TV, aka “the golden era”)

  12. I don’t think the reporter even wanted to do the segment. His producer pushed him into it. Since real journalism is forbidden (it’s career ending, see “Into the Buzzsaw”) this is all they have left.

  13. I think the interviewee handled himself with more decorum than I would have had patience for. The first thing I thought of when he asked “have you ever seen a woman naked” was “yes, your wife.”

    In retrospect, however, his response was the right way to go.

  14. Hah, I’d have like to see Jeff ask the reporter what he thought of FISA, Charlie Black, or Karl Rove ignoring subpoenas.

  15. just change one detail here, and it goes from bad journalism to hilarity. pretend for a second that instead of eric spillman, it was triumph, the insult comic dog. in that scenario, the question becomes totally appropriate.

    was eric’s question silly? damn straight it was. did it match the tenor of the situation? absolutely! it’s a soft-news story and should be treated as such. c’mon, we’re talking about a reporter sent out to cover the story of people standing in line to buy a phone! good for him for trying to have some fun with it.

    and the final kicker here: for better or worse (definitely worse), about 2 years ago they changed the name of the program from ‘the ktla morning news’ to ‘the ktla morning show.’ i think we all know what to expect after that.

  16. “I think he did have a bit of a point but yeah it was a pretty asinine one.”

    See my above point (#9) and pat yourself on the back.

  17. Attention Boing Boing readers! Attention Boing Boing readers!

    Let it be known that Internet Tough Guy Joe (post #14) has decreed that, unless your interests meet with his approval, you have no life.

    One activity Joe would approve of is using a message board in the middle of the day to accuse others of having no life. This activity can safely be performed without risk of Joe’s scorn.

  18. ‘The whole jocks vs. nerds, “gadgets are for fags!” mentality is rapidly becoming antiquated….’

    There are more blowjobs in locker rooms than Radio Shacks.

  19. Triumph the insult comic dog doesn’t pretend to be a journalist. (IMO he doesn’t successfully pretend to be funny, either, but that’s irrelevant here.)

    I say push back on reporters doing stupid things, and give them clips to show their producers when they say “see, that was stupid”—or maybe to show their producers’ bosses.

    But for-profit TV journalism is dead in America. Real news just didn’t sell enough overpriced gas-guzzling cars.

  20. To take the other side for a moment: I’ve watched KTLA am show over the years on and off and this is what they do. Spillman has been encouraged, probably by management, to be curmudgeonly and cranky while the anchors bate him. It’s the game. It has developed and increased over the years. It is “info-tainment” like it or not. He also does some serious stories seriously.

    I guess my point is that as much as I loathe TV news in all its dumbing down and manipulativeness, I find it hard to get outraged at this relatively transparent example.

  21. Mark 23:

    One activity Joe would approve of is using a message board in the middle of the day to accuse others of having no life. This activity can safely be performed without risk of Joe’s scorn.

    Oh, good. Hey, Joe? You have no life!

    Thanks, Mark, for letting us know. I’m sure you’re aware that us geeks (especially the gay ones) have absolutely no practice enduring scorn, and live in dread that someone like Joe may call us an idiot in a comment thread.

    Teh bootz. I kwaykz in dem.

  22. It occurs to me that my post at 27 could be interpreted as getting sarky with Mark. I had no intention of engaging in Mark sark (a la Fark). My sark was all for Joe.

  23. Joe: Given that the launch of the new iPhone isn’t just the day any old celphone goes on sale, the people in line weren’t simply jonesing for a phone. They were a part of something kinda fun: the launch of what’s being called the most revolutionary phone/mobile product on the market, in Apple’s hometown.

    They were featured on the news multiple times, had live webcams recording their gathering, and generally had a good time.

    And you missed out on it! Loser.

  24. “There are more blwjbs in locker rooms than Radio Shacks.”

    First, who would put a Radio Shack in a locker room?

    Second, your larger point may be true, but as a straight nerd I never wanted one from anyone I saw in a locker room, which was clearly not true of everyone else.

  25. I love when the news lady says “Those are my people”. Amazing. I’m pretty sure those are not her people.

  26. Finally someone who realizes that an interviewer on the street is an INVITATION, not an ORDER.

    And finally it’s my buddy Jeff to tell him where to stick it.

    What a great day it was.


    Oh, to be teased for a dropped preposition! “The shame of it all!”

    Did you disemvowel me? The mod didn’t initially. I’m sorry if something rubbed off on you.

  28. Without a doubt, this “reporter” was a total jackass, and though he may have been trying to make a point, someone in his position could never offer a legit critique of consumer obsession. If he had been questioning the fetishization of luxary commodities like the iphone, perhaps he may have been on to something…of course, if he had, it would have not been on television…

    I’m sure folks will agree that we live in consumer obsessed culture. That feels safe to say. Whether or not you are grossed out by it is a matter of opinion, I suppose… In my opinion whether it was for a new video game system, a fancy new fangled phone, or any other such expensive gadget doesn’t matter…these things are nonessential and dedication to “stuff” on that level is laughable…

    I’ll say this: Rich folks love gadgets, and maybe my bitterness is because I haven’t the capital to join the icult…

    Anyway, none of your fancy new toys will mean a good goddamn when the bottom (finally)falls out of this economy.

    So sure, jackass newscaster confronted by corporate shills, whatever.

  29. Antinous,

    I didn’t know if you were riding herd today or not. Of course you have a name, and a very nice one too. I’m just amused that MDHATTER couldn’t, um, accept the word as it, um, stood.

  30. Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, while looking at the chest of a man dressed as Darth Vader, in line for Episode I: “Which button calls your mom to come pick you up?”

    I’m a huge Star Wars fan, and I waited in those lines, and come on, that was funny.

    This, not so much. I love that Jeff pushed back, but Eric Spillman obviously wasn’t completely sold on hassling these people before he went over to ask the questions. It seemed more like a dare to me. He knew it didn’t belong on a newscast. It was dumb, and it made me sad for all involved, except the producers of the crap segment.

  31. line-waiting-fanboy-consumer blushes, gets all flustered while distracted from purchasing product…. aka STRIKES BACK!

  32. @ G.Park – exactly. I spent the weekend spending more money than an iphone costs to fly half-way across the country for a 2 hour concert. Anyone who wants to tell me I’m a loser for doing that can stand in line to get beat up by a girl.

  33. I too believe that congrats are in order for calling the reporter in his jackassery.

    That doesn’t mean that waiting in line for a bloody phone isn’t lame.

  34. I did the same thing to pretty much every national news outlet waiting line for the first showings of the Phantom Menace. I got sick of them walking past the 200 normal people in line to talk to the one guy dressed up funny. It’s amazing when you see the footage of that day, you would think everyone in the line were wearing costumes and acting like idiots, the truth is I only saw like 5 people in costumes the entire day. I basically would yell stupid crap whenever they where trying to film anything stupid. I’m also getting kind of sick of people passing judgment on how other people spend they’re free time. Personally I consider playing golf every weekend an incredibly stupid waste of time, but to most people that a totally normal and acceptable thing to do. Spend the same amount of time LARPing and your some kind of drooling troglodyte.

  35. @17 “The first thing I thought of when he asked “have you ever seen a woman naked” was “yes, your wife.”
    The correct response to the question is, “Your Mom.”

  36. The guy’s problem is that he was so tentative about it. If he had just charged right up and asked obnoxious questions, it might have been funny. How funny could it be when you just spent five minutes on screen having your news readers cajole you into it?

    Speaking of which, for those who don’t live here: Welcome to what passes for TV news in Southern California. “Darfur who? No, really Angie had her twins and Brad helped deliver them!” The news is 70% celebrity gossip. I mean the actual news news.

  37. Ok, ok. It is incredibly juvenile to equate ones virginity status with whether they were waiting in line for an iPhone. I will give you that…

    However, I refuse to discount the fact that there is something somewhat absurd, and maybe a little perverse, in waiting all day (or worse, overnight) to buy a cell phone (or any product/gadget). Yell at me all you want about how this isn’t any more of a waste of time than [insert sport/hobby here], but the difference is that this particular hobby celebrates pure consumerism in a culture already drowning in it.

  38. #15 & #32 Yes, the female anchor is Michaela Pereira. She is a tech geek. Those are her people.

    I actually saw the segment as it aired. I cheered on the interviewee from my couch.

  39. Sometimes people forget that standing in line like this is not an antisocial activity. You’re hanging out, sometimes in a festive atmosphere, together with a lot of people who are excited about the same technology you are.

  40. 40: i do. it’s the morning news. i’d like to think there will always be a place in the morning news world for bashing people standing in lines in front of places that will eventually get burned down during a revolution.

  41. MDHatter 31: Second, your larger point may be true, but as a straight nerd I never wanted one from anyone I saw in a locker room, which was clearly not true of everyone else.

    Hmm. As a gay geek/word nerd, I feel I should address this. I seldom want one from anyone in a locker room either. But I’ve seen more people in locker rooms I’d like to give one to (were they amenable) than in Radio Shack (not unheard of there, but less common). And certainly gay prøn set in a locker room is much more common than gay prøn set in any electronics store.

  42. The problem with the ‘News’ in the USA is that they are governed by ratings.

    News =! Entertainment

    It’s not like the reporters can go out and cause news-worthy stuff to happen on a daily basis–so they have to make news out of non-news events.

    How many other ‘launches’ have had lines around the USA and the reporters were there interviewing everybody? Off of the top of my head, I can name:

    Starwars 1-3, Zune, Gutar Hero III, Wii, Xbox 360, PS3, World of Warcraft and the Burning Crusade expansion… Pretty much anything with a lot of people excited about it.

    So it is an easy ‘story’ for them. It eats up a lot of time (interviews on the street always do) and they are ‘human interest’ which makes their bosses happy and the people buying airtime happy as all the people who were interviewed will watch the news and they will then see their commercials.

    Why this model continues to exist is only evident because of what (most) Americans want to see on TV. Americans don’t want to hear the sad news on TV. They want to hear about the kitten who was rescued from the sewer by the fire department…

    They don’t want to hear that it cost 40K dollars to get that kitten out (Wages, equipment, stopping water, digging, etc.) of that sewer–and they are footing the bill for it in their local taxes.

    Until we separate out entertainment from the News–and not have the requirement of getting high ratings–in the USA this is the kind of drivel that we can expect on TV news crews.

  43. It’s not like the reporters can go out and cause news-worthy stuff to happen on a daily basis–so they have to make news out of non-news events.

    ..so you are blaming a lack of stuff-going-on-in-the-world, for the lack of decent news coverage on American tv.

    Oh dear, oh dear.

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