The Most Shocking Videos Ever Broadcasted on Live TV

Working with live TV can be very tricky. As some might say, it could be a network’s dream or its worst nightmare. Due to the degree of unpredictability, certain risks come with the job. Over the years, we have seen several memorable and even historical moments unfold live on-screen. From some of the most beautiful and victorious moments to those that have left the world heartbroken, live television has documented many of the world’s biggest events.

We will be looking at some of the most shocking moments ever broadcasted on television on this list.

1.The Rescue of Baby Jessica (1987)

Every now and then, some stories unite people, especially if it is broadcasted on television, becoming a shared experience between viewers. This credit goes to the story of then-18-month-old Jessica McClure, who fell down a 22-foot well in the backyard of her aunt’s property in Texas. When reports hit the news, everybody tuned in and hoped for the best outcome for baby Jessica’s plight. The story was followed by the hour, up until rescuers finally brought her home two days after. Though injured, baby Jessica was alive, and for that brief moment, it was a victory for everyone.

2.Salute at the Mexico City Olympic Games (1968)

Protests can come in many different forms. Not exempt from this fact are some of the world’s most prestigious sporting events. An example of this is the U.S. national anthem protests, which often send a wave of electricity among audiences. However, this wouldn’t be the first time athletes showed solidarity with their people, even at the risk of their own careers. This also happened in the 1969 Olympic Games, where Tommie Smith and John Carlos won gold and bronze.

To give context, 1968 was a year filled with civil unrest following the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy. Demonstrations were happening everywhere, and the athletes, who were both African-American, did not hesitate to show their support by raising a black-gloved fist while they were being awarded on the podium. This salute to Black Power received a degree of backlash from both viewers and the Olympic committee. Still, it sent a powerful message: there are things far greater than the Olympics that people should pay attention to.

3.Richard Nixon Resigns (1974)

Following one expose after another and the conclusion of the Watergate hearings, there was turmoil in Richard Nixon’s administration. Prosecutors were fired, advisers were dismissed, and congress was preparing itself for an impeachment. However, instead of facing further embarrassment, then-president Nixon decided that it was better to resign from his post. In a 16-minute live broadcast, he gave a speech detailing his decision. While this is still taught in online classes, books will not express the disappointment of a nation betrayed. In the same afternoon, he said his goodbyes to his staff and boarded the presidential helicopter. Perhaps the most surreal thing about this moment is the calmness in his demeanor, despite his guilt.

4.Hurricane Katrina (2005) 

Hurricane Katrina was among the most devastating natural disasters ever hit, costing significant damages when it comes to life and property. However, that does not mean that news coverage of it would have to grind to a halt. After all, it is during these moments that continued broadcast is necessary. This is why reporters who braved Mother Nature’s fury deserve all the credit. They quite literally weathered the storm to deliver information as it happens.

Beyond simply reporting, however, they also showed the heartbreak and tragedy that Hurricane Katrina left in its wake. Perhaps the most important job of all was to wake up the politicians who needed to act quickly and get aid to those who needed it. The journalists themselves were left infuriated and cast aside objectivity to send their message across.

5.The September 11th Attacks (2001)

Where were you when the news began broadcasting reports about the September 11 attacks? Many still remember exactly what they were doing when those images of the World Trade Center flashed across their TV screens. What was initially thought to be an aviation accident later turned out to be a coordinated attack on United States soil. Investments were made to make sure news coverage did not cease, even as the towers came crumbling down. It remains one of the most jarring moments on live television. One that continues to haunt people still.