Last night NBC interrupted the regularly scheduled ‘America’s Got Talent‘ program to air somber breaking news coverage of Sen. John McCain’s passing, but then made an, umm, less than ideal return to the show.
The scene (and we promise this is real and we’re not writing about it using MadLibs) consisted of two shirtless sumo wrestlers wearing dolphin head masks and making weird squeaking noises with their armpits and mouths, dancing around the stage.
Honestly, it’s not something we can describe for you, so watch it here.
NBC solemnly announces death of Sen. John McCain.
Wait for it. pic.twitter.com/xAqZ3HtvHa
— Rob Beschizza (@Beschizza) August 26, 2018
As of print, NBC has not issued a statement or an apology, but as you can imagine, the Internet has a few choice things to say:
Right! This was an huge mistake. I get the sense that whoever made that decision won’t be making many more in the future.
— Alicia (@rubiesdiamonds) August 26, 2018
As someone who has done a million of these “Special Reports,” you’re in a control room and you have no idea what’s on the air before or after you finish. You start and end when the suits in the control room tell you to.
— Ron Gilmer ? (@IdiotboxWatcher) August 26, 2018
This juxtaposition is pretty much a perfect microcosm of our culture
— A Shark??? ??? ??? (@nyc_data_geek) August 26, 2018
Boy if that doesn’t scream “America” I don’t know what does.
— Dennis Lokey (@DennisLokey) August 26, 2018
McCain passed away just days after his family announced he would forgo treatment for the aggressive form of brain cancer he was diagnosed with. McCain, who earned a reputation for a “maverick,” was a thorn in the side of both parties throughout his decades-long career in Congress. First rising to national prominence as a Navy pilot who refused to accept early release from an enemy prison camp during the Vietnam War, McCain went on to serve his country in the House of Representatives, and later, the Senate.
After a failed run for the GOP presidential nomination in 2000, McCain went on to win the 2008 nod to represent his party on the presidential ticket. Flagging in the polls, McCain selected GOP firebrand Sarah Palin as his running mate, drawing criticism from Democrats, who said she wasn’t prepared, and accolades from Republicans, who admired her “fighting spirit.” McCain reportedly chose Palin over his first choice, Democratic Senator, former Vice Presidential Candidate, and friend, Joe Lieberman. Even as she grew more and more radical, McCain refused to denounce his former running mate, saying only that he was “proud” of her.
McCain’s legacy is mixed. After being implicated in the Keating Five scandal, McCain championed the cause of getting money out of politics, reaching across the aisle to co-author campaign finance reform legislation with liberal Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold. He defended the disastrous war in Iraq to the end, flip-flopped on tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, and cast the deciding vote against Trump and Congressional Republicans’ slapdash effort to repeal Obamacare.
In one of his final interview, McCain said he wanted to be remembered as someone who served his country but made mistakes.
Hopefully, he’s remembered according to his wishes, and not for this poorly timed NBC snafu.