- Chief Congressional Correspondent of the global news network receives a rude awakening when a cicada crawls up his neck on live TV.
The cicadas are out in full force in Washington, D.C. and not even the 41-year-old Manu Raju, CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent, was safe from them, judging by a viral video. Manu Raju himself, posted the video captioned “Had an unwelcome visitor try to crawl into my live shot earlier,” as the creepy explanation for sharing airtime with the unwanted critter.
The clip shows the seasoned journalist prepping for a live piece on camera Thursday, and out of nowhere the unwanted visitor lands right on the lapel of his blue suit jacket, running up the side of neck, before the political reporter takes notice and flicks the insect out of his hair.
This incident prompted the normally calm, collected, and mild-mannered reporter to fire off a string of expletives.
“Do I have more on me?” Raju asks onlookers, as he starts to regain his composure.
“Are they in my hair?” he asks, before punctuating the exchange with more profanity, which were bleeped out.
“Where the f*** are the cicadas coming from?!” Raju exclaims as he looks around the building’s rotunda in the 43-second clip.
Raju and the CNN team with him decided “the whole world needs to see this” and enlisted one producer and his 15-year-old daughter to remove his explicit language from the video.
People on social media shared a wide array of reactions, ranging from empathetic and disgusted to amused, with even some turning the rogue visitor’s drop-in into a political joke.
“That cicada is the least swarmy thing on Capitol Hill,” a social media user wrote.
While many of Raju’s fellow colleagues also felt his pain.
“I would have LOST it!!,” tweeted NPR reporter Asma Khalid.
“Honestly I wouldn’t even be mad if you missed my live shot because of this. I would have left the building,” CNN producer Courtney Doll tweeted.
Another CNN anchor Jim Acosta labelled the clip “brooding”.
In fact, Raju’s fellow colleague Jake Tapper, anchor of Sunday’s State of the Union and The Lead with Jake Tapper used the video to humorously announce, “THE CICADAS ARE HERE.”
Scientists were excited for their arrival but it would seem that not everyone feels that way.
A White House correspondent, DJ Judd posted, “When I tell you I SCREAMED.”
But a few saw the humor in the moment.
A netizen who goes by Singh MD. tweeted jokingly, “Manu reacted like it was Mitch McConnell crawling on him.”
Netizen Dawn tweeted, “Sound up — cursing at its finest! Poor Manu Raju! I really like him, and now have even respect for him than ever! His response is priceless, genuine & completely in line what most of us would do! Poor guy attacked by lone cicadas on air! Reaction is priceless! He’s so cute!”
While senior White House correspondent Phil Mattingly couldn’t get enough, writing, “I’ve watched this roughly 4,000 times in the last 2 hours and still haven’t stopped laughing.”
Others really went in on the obvious, with NBC News’ Gary Grumbach asking if “somebody made a ‘Cicada News Network’ joke yet?” and CBS News’ Nicole Chen quipping, “Everyone in DC wants camera time”.
Raju’s video has been viewed over 1.8 million times.
Raju later spoke more in-depth about his cicada encounter while chatting with CNN’s New Day on Friday as reported by People.
He told John Berman and Brianna Keilar that “the context here is important,” before he said that another cicada fell out of his pocket “a couple of minutes” before his on-screen dilemma.
“There was another cicada that allegedly fell out of my pocket, and that happened as I was waiting to go on,” Raju said. “Our producer, Morgan Rimer said, ‘A cicada just fell out of your pocket’ and I saw it on the ground and I was a bit stunned.”
But it was not all for naught.
Raju later explains on the show that he is grossed about by the critters, and confesses that his twins “love cicadas,” as reported by People.
“All they do is talk about ’em,” Raju who appeared on the show under the tongue-in-cheek title “Chief Cicada Correspondent” said. “They put them on their hands, they’re on the cicada research committee in their pre-K class in school, so I can tell you, they love the video.”
Trillions of the noisy insects have surfaced for the first time in 17 years from Georgia to New Jersey.
This generation of the winged black insects have been dubbed Brood X or The Great Eastern Brood. They hibernated underground for nearly two decades before emerging to mate — at a volume of up to 100 decibels — have tunneled their way to the surface in parts of Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Illinois as the ground temperature gets warmer, according to a cicada mapping site from the University of Connecticut.
Other states in which the brood may surface include Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
One of 15 broods of periodical cicadas found in the eastern United States, Brood X is among the largest by geographical extent of 17-year cicada broods, the university said.
“These bugs with their black bodies, striking red eyes and orange-veined wings are not considered pests despite their menacing appearance,” the National Centers for Environmental Information said on its website.
Try telling that to Manu Raju!
(Top photo collage, courtesy CTV News)