John Roberts Must Tie!

So get ready to be outraged or baffled or otherwise scandalized. Last week, John Roberts, cohost of CNN’s American Morning, read the news wearing a button-down shirt (top button: unbuttoned!), a snappy blazer suit jacket…and no tie.

Yes. I’ll give you a moment to digest that shocking news. Take a seat, take a deep breath, whatever you need.

Anyhow, it seems the offense was perpetrated on Thursday morning. As follow-up, on Friday, American Morning devoted five minutes of air time to a segment entitled “TO TIE OR NOT TO TIE.” Here’s co-host Kiran Chetry, introducing it:

Loose from the noose! That was John Roberts yesterday, who shocked America by showing up here without a tie. And American Morning viewers definitely had an opinion. In fact, we got flooded by email from viewers. And you guys write to us all the time about things like gas prices, and the economy—but this? The tie-less John Roberts!

What followed was a sartorial circus the likes of which are rarely seen even on E! and Bravo, let alone CNN. Lola Oggunnaike interviewed various “tie experts”—at Barneys and Brooks Brothers and the like—to get the inside scoop on what Chetry called “the proper etiquette, these days, when it comes to ties.” (“Are ties comfortable?” Oggunaike asked Genoysis CFO Keith Merrell, thrusting a microphone toward him, as George Michael’s “Freedom” blared in the background.)

The whole thing was ridiculous. But it can be forgiven for that. Because it was also hilarious. In a way that I think—well, hope—was tongue-in-cheek.

“It certainly is a Friday,” Chetry said, by way of explanation. It certainly was.

[h/t All Things CNN]

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Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.