Poor MSNBC news reader Krystal Ball.
A co-host of "The Cycle," Ball was scammed on a live, on-air interview by a Howard Stern fan pretending to be a witness to the crash of Malaysian Air flight 17 in Ukraine.
(Yes, Krystal Ball is her real name. But it could as easily be a pseudonym in the tradition of radio station traffic reporters -- Major Miles, Detour Dave, Freeway Frannie, Holly Headlights -- whose names seem to have been inspired by the folks at "Car Talk.")
The "interview," accompanied by a well-produced video of the Ukraine crash site and debris of the Boeing 777, went like this:
KB: U.S. Staff Sergeant Michael Boyd is at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine [see, she was smart enough not to call the country "The Ukraine"], and says that he saw a missile in the air hit the plane. He is on the phone with us. Sergeant, are you there?
MB: Yes, I'm here. Can you hear me?
KB: I can. Please tell us what you saw there on the ground in Ukraine.
Howard ... are you sitting down?
MB: Well, I was looking out the window, and I saw a projectile flying through the sky, and it would appear that the plane was shot down by a blast of wind from Howard Stern's ass.
KB [missing the prank]: So it would appear that the plane was shot down. Can you tell us anything more from your military training of what sort of missile system that may have been coming from?
MB: Boy, you're a dumb ass, aren't you?
KB: I'm sorry, sir?
KB: [Pause, listening to her IFB]
KB: All right, we're going to take a quick break.
Damned control room
Look, it was funny the first time we saw it, but, with a little reflection, it's easy to imagine a director or producer speaking into Ball's IFB earpiece at the very moment the supposed soldier's comments went off the rails. She may not have even heard what "Boyd" said.
Or, like most normal folks, she may not have quickly processed the comment, assuming she hadn't -- surely couldn't have -- heard it correctly.
This is both like, and not like, the time substitute FOX News host Alisyn Camerota clearly did not have her brain in gear when guest Bob Beckel made an absurd factual misstatement about the stock market. (See our previous News Munchie, Are Any Actual Adults In The Newsroom?) At least Ball has a plausible excuse.
Somebody should be fired for this, but, rather than Ball, it should be the MSNBC producer or staff assistant who didn't properly vet the caller.
Her name may be Krystal, but it would take Brass Balls to come through such a wince-inducing error unscathed.