On Sunday, FOX News made the terrible mistake of airing a live car chase in Arizona and they did not cut away before the viewing audience witnessed the suspect pull out a gun and take his own life. While we understand that this was a mistake, it brings up the question…when is live coverage too much?
According to Deadline.com:
Fox News Channel yesterday was showing live coverage of an Arizona police chase that ended when the suspect fled the scene, pulled out a handgun and committed suicide by shooting himself in the head — before Fox News could stop the helicopter footage from hitting the air. Fox News cut away from the local station feed immediately after, showing anchor Shepard Smith telling the control booth to “get off, get off, get off”, and went to commercial break. When it returned, Smith apologized on-air (see the video below), saying the feed was on a delay but the network failed in cutting it off in time. It’s clear from Smith’s white-faced explanation that the cable news channel has a protocol for such instances, but this time it didn’t work as intended.
Fox News’ EVP of News Editorial later said in a statement: “We took every precaution to avoid any such live incident by putting the helicopter pictures on a five second delay. Unfortunately, this mistake was the result of a severe human error and we apologize for what viewers ultimately saw on the screen.”
Veterans of local Los Angeles news already know the risks of media outlets following car chases too closely, and some TV stations here have guidelines for pulling camera shots away after a chase comes to an end just in case something goes wrong. Others don’t air the chases at all.
We pray for the love ones of the man who took his life and anyone else who happened to be watching. Do you think the news should cover live car chases, robberies, hostage situations etc.? Let me know your thoughts.
Watch the apology below:
Source: Fox News. Deadline.com