2001 ‘Good Day New York’ On-Air Argument Gets New Life Online

In another instance of social media reviving interest in the media that preceded it, social media users re-discovered in March 2020 a clip that first made headlines after airing on WNYW-TV nearly 20 years earlier.

One iteration of the clip featuring Good Day New York anchor Jim Ryan’s argument with reporter (and, as viewers would discover, former supervisor) Dick Oliver, posted by journalist Yashar Ali, has been shared thousands of times on the platform:

This is the most incredible video on the internet pic.twitter.com/NSpyhIEtTR

— Yashar Ali ???? (@yashar) March 6, 2020

The clip has also been shared by actor Kalen Allen, quickly becoming so widely viewed that questions appeared about whether it was real or perhaps some sort of arcane comedy skit. The footage, however, is legitimate. Oliver and Ryan began sniping each other during the show’s July 19 2001 episode as Oliver was doing a live report on a dispute involving tenants in a Chelsea apartment building with their landlord over elevator repairs to the building:

After hearing from both an unidentified tenant and an unidentified man described as a building manager on the issue, Oliver attempts to end his report and pitch back to Ryan at the studio when Ryan interrupts and asks if the tenant has left the interview, leading to the argument:

Oliver: What would you like to know?

Ryan: I would like to know a response to what the gentleman said, the gentleman’s a very effective spokesperson for the company, but obviously the people who live there are not satisifed with his explanation.

Oliver: Right, so what do you want now?

Ryan: Well, if I have to teach you how to become a reporter Ollie, I’ll do that later.

Oliver: Why don’t you do that later, Jim? I think the lady expressed herself, and you’re not here, you’re there. Is there any question you’d like me to ask her?

Ryan: No. I’ll give you lessons on how to become a reporter later, Ollie.

Oliver: I’ll give you lessons on how to become an editor because I was your boss once.

Ryan: Yeah, you were, and are no longer. How did that happen?

According to the New York Post, Oliver’s final jibe was a reference to their work together at the New York Daily News prior to joining the station. “It was a little tiff and both of them regret it,” then-general manager James Clayton said at the time. “Jim has wonderful reporting instincts and felt it was a story [Oliver] needed to pursue.”

Before being brought back to light on Twitter, the segment had already been posted on WNYW’s YouTube channel. It has also been cited online as an example of a memorable on-air clash between news personalities.

Oliver would go on to provide some of the earliest live coverage of the attack on New York City on September 11 2001, not long after his argument with Ryan. He died on November 11 2016 at the age of 77.