Was Diane Sawyer wasted during ABC’s election night coverage?

Oh my, Diane Sawyer was “maintaining” as Kaiser puts it, last night during her job as co-anchor for ABC’s election coverage. She was slurring her words, acting goofy, and basically embarrassing her co-anchor, George Stephanopoulos, who stared at her stony-faced as she went on babbling about the election. It was fun for me to watch on several levels. Of course because Sawyer was so visibly wasted, and also because I never watch ABC for election night, I flip between MSNBC and CNN. Plus I actually missed the point last night when they called the election for Obama! I was so tired I passed out before that happened. I’m still burned from staying up until 4am in 2000. Anyway, so many people noticed Diane’s inebriated state, and it was so non-debatable, that People Magazine is now carrying this story. It’s already a meme.

Barack Obama supporters had plenty to toast to Tuesday night when the President claimed victory over Republican candidate Mitt Romney.

Also saying cheers to the end of a tight election season: Diane Sawyer?

Amid the nail-biting unveiling of the presidential election results, some viewers of ABC’s news coverage were just as focused on host Sawyer, 66, wondering on social media if her political celebrating got the best of her. Her seemingly odd conduct was even chronicled by the Associated Press, which noted her slow speech and the way she seemed to hold out her arms to prop herself up as the election night results trickled in.

Of course, social media outlets lit up with observations about the veteran broadcaster’s commentary, which seemed off and, at times, slurred, with co-host George Stephanopoulos.

But her coverage fell short for some political junkies, who wondered if the motto of the night was “four more years” … or “four more beers.”

The Internet’s infatuation with “Drunk Diane Sawyer” quickly followed in the footsteps of the debates’s Big Bird, binders full of women and bayonets. The comparatively light-hearted political commentary continued through the results — on a parody account.

[From People]

Here’s a link to the Drunk Diane Sawyer Twitter account that People mentions – it’s hilarious.

As Crazy Days and Nights puts it, Paula Abdul was like this for a few seasons on American Idol. We can learn to live with occasionally drunk Diane Sawyer. She makes much more sense than Paula ever did.

In response to this story, an ABC executive supposedly told The Daily Mail (off the record, so they could be making it up) that Diane was just “exhausted” and that “Diane’s been up for days and she’s had many sleepless nights. She was covering the hurricane and then preparing for the election broadcast.” It sounds like how I prepare for Oscar night – with some cocktails.

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82 Responses to “Was Diane Sawyer wasted during ABC’s election night coverage?”

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  1. Stubbylove says:

    She was WASTED – hello drinkie!

    • Apples says:

      I’m not sure either way. I can get that way if I am hungry + tired + stressed all at the same time.

      Somebody posted this statement last night by Diane Sawyer:
      “We remind everyone how many people around the world die, literally die for the right to do what we are doing tonight…”

      Whether or not she was smashed, no more eloquent or poignant words were said last night.

      • deehunny says:

        +1. She probably had a few beers or a couple cocktails prior, mixed with exhaustion. With all the media surrounding it I thought she was going to be smashed.

        Here, she was just buzzed IMO

      • Victoria says:

        She could’ve been tired. When I don’t sleep well and am up and running for days I get the same way. Or maybe she was like the rest of us and needed to take the edge off because of uncertainty of the outcome?
        Regardless she looked great and I don’t care if she was drunk, this is America dammit do what u will. Hahaha

  2. kate says:

    i wish i could talk candidly with George right now. Better yet, wish i was snarky Ali in the kitchen right now having this conversation with George.

    Hot mess! she will claim painkillers from some sort of dental surgery or something…

  3. emmie_a says:

    I don’t know if I buy the drunk angle. I think it was adrenaline.

    • Esmom says:

      I tend to agree. How could she even drink sitting at that desk, surrounded by all those talking heads, unless her water bottle or coffee cup were filled with booze?

      I have to say, though, I thought her hair and makeup looked fabulous. I didn’t get to see her after 8 pm or so, however, because our ABC station switched to local coverage.

    • bondbabe says:

      Probably just a little Reefer Madness!! Maybe she thought she was in Colorado.

    • Mourning the Death of Music says:

      I’d be more willing to believe exhaustion, which can cause a person to exhibit behaviors similar to drunkenness.

  4. Gracie says:

    My mother and I have been calling her “drunk lady” for years, ever since her antics on BO’s inauguration, and then an old school vid of her drinking wine with pills, she might be a lush. I don’t remember when, but there was some flash mob (remember those) for her, and I saw her drinking there as well. Honestly, I dont watch world news with Diane sawyer, I watch the weekend edition with David Muir (mah intellectual news boo).

  5. Andrew says:

    She might have been wasted but I can’t believe she is 66…she looks good for her age

  6. kaligula says:

    Some people can have a drunk-like affect without taking a sip for a number of reasons. Possibilities include: she is overtired/sleep deprived, she is in some kind of physical pain and trying to mask it, pills of some kind of course, excessive coffee consumption & allergic reaction to caffeine, or she got some really bad news right before the cameras went on and she’s trying to tame a storm of emotions within. All of those (except for the pills) have happened to me :((( at various times, and I could never convince people that I wasn’t drunk. But life is not so black and white, people. Everyone’s physiology is unique.

  7. Rita says:

    She was certainly not her “snappy” self that is for sure. She’s usually very smooth if not sufficiently bland.

  8. Katie Too says:

    Admittedly, I love her, but I think she’s giddy and exhausted. Actually her enthusiasm/drunkenness makes me wish I woulda watched ABC rather than CNN since it’s more homey/real. CNN was great and polished but so clinical.

  9. SW says:

    I don’t think she was drunk. For her I actually believe the excuse of exhaustion.

    • Lisa says:

      Agreed. She was acting scattered, but I highly doubt it was due to alcohol. I believe she was extremely tired. I think ABC needs to make sure that if she’s going to anchor this kind of coverage she needs a lot more rest beforehand.

      I didn’t watch a lot of ABC’s coverage because the whole thing was so scattered. A zillion people at tables. I felt like I was attending an inter-departmental meeting for work or something.

      I mostly stuck with CBS, which only had three people at the anchor desk, and checked in with ABC during CBS’s commercials.

      • Gracie says:

        I feel bad cause I didn’t watch any major network. I stayed on FB and got “real time” results, the. At 11 I got on my ipad and watched the daily show/Colbert report live shows. They were ok, could’ve been funnier though, and I would’ve liked it better if Stewart and Colbert combined shows.

      • Sassy says:

        I thought she was drunk, and was not influenced by anything except what I observed. I thought it odd and wondered how she would have had time for a few drinks while on the air. Barbara Walters and Katy Couric seemed sober. Which brings me to – when are these older women going to hang it up? Barbara is in her 80’s and Diane is 66. Neither should be sitting around a studio till 3 or 4 am.

      • JillMac says:

        @Sassy for real? There have been a shit ton of male newscasters over the years who worked way past 66. Nobody called them too old.

    • EscapedConvent says:

      Agree, JillMac. “Older women” don’t have to hang it up any more than Mike Wallace did.

      Also, lack of sleep with adrenaline can make you look giddy & silly like that.

      • Mourning the Death of Music says:

        I have to chime in and agree too. Sad how, for as modern of times we’re in, ageism and sexism are still rearing their ugly heads.

      • JudyK says:

        66 is not very old in today’s society. Diane looks young and vibrant…this has nothing to do w/ her age.

  10. MG says:

    I watched ABC and didn’t notice anything at the time. She just seemed like her normal self to me. What caught my attention was the fact that George and Diane seemed to be annoyed at Barbara Walters. But who can blame them for that. I liked Katie Couric last night. She has always annoyed me but I think she looked great last night and sounded good too.

  11. T.C. says:

    Best entertainment of the night followed by Karl Rove melt down. She seemed drunk and in her own happy world.

  12. Monique says:


  13. The Original Genevieve says:

    Yeah, guys….WTF was UP with that last night?!

    Couldn’t believe what I was seeing on ABC last night. The venerable Diane. SAWYER? Wasted?

    Maybe a medication mix or something? Have NEVER heard that Sawyer has substance abuse issues, but yeah…I was confused as hell!

  14. Kim says:

    I believe it was exhaustion I’m exhausted just watching her on all these shows for the last week.Covering Sandy and the election doing her show,GMA,she was on Kelly and Michael, The View last week….

  15. Cody says:

    I saw a little of Diane on TV last night and the people that I was watching with thought maybe she was on some type of medication that caused her to seem intoxicated, like some anti-depressants can give you that type of reaction. George did look annoyed.

  16. Mara says:

    Drunk or not she is so beautiful and lovely to wach on tv!

  17. Anon says:

    Watched Rachel Maddow. And thank goodness.

  18. annaloo. says:

    You go ‘head, Diane. It’s all good.

  19. Me says:

    I can’t stand Diane Sawyer at all. I don’t think she was drunk. She ALWAYS acts like a looney, over earnest goof ball. She’s so over the top with her earnestness, I can’t even stand it. I don’t think George can stand her either. I have respect for her as a newswoman, but she just acts so ditzy and weird all of the time. Time to retire her and Barbara Walters. Let Maddow take over, please!

    • Marie Antoinette Jr. says:

      I’m with you, Me. I think babs has no one in her life who is honest with her. Someone needs to tell her she is on the brink of dementia and is excruciatingly irritating to listen to and watch. She had an amazing career but it’s OVER.
      A kind friend should tell her to leave gracefully before they are forced to kick her out.

      • Me says:

        So agree about Walters and the dementia! She’s just teetering on the edge constantly. I feel bad for harshing on Diane. I do think she’s had a great career, but it’s just time to make a graceful exit. It’s ovah baby, oooovah!

  20. Susie (1 of 3) says:

    Exhaustion and adrenaline as someone else mentioned. If drinking, she couldn’t have kept up the comentary for hours and hours and still make sense. I channel surfed and didn’t notice any problems with her then or on the above video. Her style is more casual and has been since she was on GMA. George looked just like he always does when someone else is talking; polite, pleasant, interested or pretending to be. Nothing like trying to put someone down who has most likely been working for the last few weeks on very little sleep to keep us informed.

  21. WOM says:

    I watched a combination Al-Jazeera, BBC and CBC. I think the American networks are crap because they are hog tied by their editorial agendas and corporate sponsors.

    I discounted rumours that Sawyer was drunk, and was hoping that people were exaggerating her condition. But based on the footage I’ve seen since: it doesn’t look great. Maybe it’s a prescription drug reaction or a medical condition (MS sufferers are often sadly mistaken as being intoxicated), but she embarrassed herself. Why didn’t they pull her off the desk? What do the “optics” matter if she’s undermining her message w/ her incoherency?

    • Raven says:

      You asked my question, why didn’t they pull her from the desk. I saw a bit of it and hope it was just exhaustion or a medication reaction, but she was not in any shape to be on the air.

  22. Kosmos says:

    I LOVE Diane Sawyer…even if there is some truth to this story, she is still the BEST at her job. She’s always very classy and if she had a little too much, then I hope she had a good night!! I actually watched the election coverage last night with Diane and the big staff covering the election and I really did not notice anything peculiar, except that Diane didn’t speak as much, but I thought that was due to having so many others on the show. Diane is ADORABLE and she’s terrific at her job.

  23. Rachel says:

    Too much Botox? Can’t move her face? I used to work in the same office as her, wayyyyy back in the day. She was so gorgeous. I was in an elevator with her once and she was like a supermodel. I remember when she got her first face lift though, and Ted Koppel complaining about how she “used to be beautiful.” And Carol Simmons complaining about him complaining: “He’s got no right to talk, with his hair!” Ah, the memories. 🙂 Don’t even get me started on Sam Donaldson or David Brinkley…

  24. nikko says:

    I love Diane Sawyer….she was just celebrating. Woo Hoo!!!!!!

  25. Bells says:

    She definitely appears to be under the influence of something. It’s possible she’s not drunk, but taking a new medication. Case in point, my doctor started me on a new prescription recently, and to say I reacted badly is an understatement. At one point, I climbed up on my bathroom countertop and sat criss-cross-applesauce for an hour doing nothing but examining my hairline. Either way, I sincerely hope she is not having a legitimate problem with alcohol or drugs and that this was an isolated incident.

  26. The Original Victoria says:

    Nobody does bitch better than Diane fucking Sawayer and only my girl Whitney Elizabeth Houston has been able to outbitch her.

    Diane PWONED:
    -Britney (made the poor thing cry)
    -Dixie Chicks (Always team Dixie Chicks but she straight up asked them some bold ass shit regarding Maine’s Bush comment.

    I could go on but I’d be here forever.

    She asks the questions people want to know and gives not a single fuck about it.

  27. Thiajoka says:

    I thought she was just tired. She was rambling a bit but did keep up with the context of everything going on in a way that wouldn’t be possible if she was drunk. Also, I wondered if she had a bit of a low blood sugar level.

  28. Jennifer says:

    Definitely toasted and celebratory. Something seemed off last night while watching as she is never like that on the evening news. My bf remarked that they were all pro-Obama but not sure if I totally agree with him. Definitely unprofessional….

  29. Bobby the K says:

    I think exhaustion would be a factor for anyone in the American media right now. But medication may be an issue as well.

  30. Edith says:

    isn’t it possible that she’s not drunk but rather ill? Example: could it be something neurological? slurred speech can be an indicator. Seriously, I bet it’s more complicated than it looks. Whatever the case, it’s sad.

  31. mjsinaustin says:

    My god, she looks great for 66 and drunk.

  32. Jayna says:

    How in the world is she 66? Wow. I have never seen anyone look this young and gorgeous for her age in a nonplastic-surgeried way. Great genes and real beauty that held up with minimal plastic surgery. Beautiful hair and skin.

  33. Lululeah says:

    I met her once at an event about 10 years ago. She was hands down the most gorgeous person I’ve ever seen on person. And I was maybe 22 at the time and she was mid-50s. That’s all I’ve got!

  34. sashavice says:

    Eh, so what? I ain’t mad at it.

  35. d says:

    Well, she sure LOOKS exhausted to me. When I reach a certain level of exhaustion – very rarely nowadays – such as more than one night without sleep, probably poor food, and whatnot, it doesn’t take much to start acting drunk-like. And the slightest bit of alcohol combined with sheer exhaustion = LOOPY. Esp. given her age. Young’uns can appear to handle exhaustion, but you get to a certain age, and a couple of nights of no sleep can have a really drastic effect.

  36. Feebee says:

    I get that her style is less buttoned up than George’s and yeah it’s funny to have all this ‘she was drunk’ shit going around. I’m sure she can laugh about it but it’s kind of insulting too. She a professional news anchor and there’s no way in hell she’d be drinking or be allowed to be drinking on air. She’s only 66 but she IS 66 and was probably running on fumes after the combining election and Sandy coverage.

  37. Freak on a Leash says:

    Radaronline has video from back in the day of her getting ready to do a show sipping a very full glass of wine and digging in her bag for prescription pills. She’s a user, just higher class.
    I remember a famous reporter reporting live while being drunk off his asss at a hospital on Y2K night.

  38. lolaluvsu2 says:

    If she was wasted…what was up with the idiot who said “this will probably be the last time two white men run for office?”

  39. lolaluvsu2 says:

    If she was wasted…what was up with the duffus who said “this will probably be the last time two white men run for office?”

  40. Moi says:

    Ok I have to agree with Rachel above, it’s Botox. I watched the clip (was in bed, not watching the polls), and she is slurring her words. I mean, it could be anything. Alcohol, pills, etc. But I could see that she’s had quite a bit of Botox injections done, and it Can alter your speech and make you sound just as she did.

  41. april says:

    Prior to this event, I often felt that she speaks slowly and slurred.

    It could be due to medication. Maybe she needs to have a refresher course in enunciating properly. Regardless, I think she’s an ok news anchor.

  42. LeeLoo says:

    I used to watch election coverage on ABC. That was back in 2000 when Peter Jennings was still around. I miss that feisty Canadian. He was so neutral.

    • EscapedConvent says:

      *Sniffle*…..I miss Peter Jennings too—so much. “We shall not see his like again.”

  43. tmbg says:

    I laughed myself sick and really thought she was drunk, but I am not sure if ABC’s explanation of her behavior is so off. When I was a kid and would get tired, I’d get so ridiculously silly that it would drive everyone around me nuts, and it still happens. The minute I’m deprived of sleep, I laugh at anything and act ridiculous (in the comfort of my own home, however). So it may not be spin on ABC’s part – she could’ve been legitimately exhausted.

    She also has an amazing shade of blonde. Just had to throw that in there.

    PS – And I really miss Tim Russert. 🙁

  44. I Choose Me says:

    Wait she’s 66…years old? Dayum! She’s either got great genes, the most fabulous make-up people or a top-notch doctor. I mean if that last is a recent picture. Even her hands look great. I say again dayum!

  45. Flim says:

    I suspect she’s also watching multiple clocks and is forced to spin incessantly to avoid dead air, while being prepared to switch gears at the drop of a hat. So only love for Diane-she did a good job.

  46. kc says:

    Just my two cents but I spent this summer working insane hours at the Olympics and by the last few days-you really would not have been able to tell the drunk people from the sober folks. I don’t drink and I know I was loopy as can be-exhaustion will DEFINITELY do that to you and she HAS been working like crazy.

    Still funny though.

  47. dlc says:

    My bf thought she was drunk too. Could be exhaustion, makes me act pretty loopy. She does look great.

  48. coconut says:

    george looks steamed.

  49. Mrs. Ari Gold says:

    I find her unwatchable when she’s sober or drunk. She’s cold, arrogant and insincere. She has always struck me as having a lack of integrity as a newsperson – I don’t ever believe what she’s telling me.

    I don’t think this was an isolated incident. Just the worst incident so far. Next up? REHAB.

  50. Shelly says:

    She was wasted and i loved it. She seemed more real, i’m sure hanging out with her is a hoot when she’s drunk. Loved it.

  51. TheOneAndOnly says:

    Conan O’brien had a skit about drunk newscasters on election night and he included clips of Diane – didn’t watch any of this stuff – all I need is the result not endless time filling blather that will be forgotten very quickly.

  52. Belle Epoch says:

    I can’t believe how many people think Diane Sawyer was “ok”! Girlfriend was operating through a heavy fog. Imagine having all the experts ready to answer ANY question… and asking about an exclamation point. WTF?

    I don’t think it was booze but acted like she was unable to feel her entire body.

    I guess we don’t expect much of our news anchors these days. You wouldn’t catch Brian Williams acting like Drunk Girl!

  53. Lynda says:

    Why are her eyes always red?