I've been around more than a few television news reporters in my day. Some of them are really good in the field, able to ad-lib under the most intense circumstances.
Others, however, are less blessed. They need the good ol' teleprompter in order to make everything work. Without it, they have issues functioning, much less delivering a competent news report.
A good example of teleprompter overreliance was found on Fox News Channel Tuesday afternoon. Popular anchor Shepard Smith was giving his audience the latest information on the Steve McNair murder, and the prompter -- a machine that scrolls the anchor's script so s/he can read it without looking down at the paper copy -- started acting up.
As Smith tried to ad-lib, we learned a very important fact about McNair's case.
You could take this as a rip on whoever decided to put the story on the air. After all, there's no relevance to it when McNair wasn't doing anything illegal. Who the hell cares how drunk he was when he was shot?
Then again, if McNair had been awake and aware, maybe none of this would have happened.