A carjacking and subsequent high speed chase ended with a suicide. That suicide was accidentally aired on FOX News, despite their attempts not to show it to their viewers. Since the airing of the suicide, FOX News has made public statements, apologizing for the incident.
In a September 29 email, a Fox News spokesperon issued a statement from Michael Clemente regarding the high speed chase and suicide. Michael Clemente is the Executive Vice President of news. The following is the latest statement from FOX news:
“We took every precaution to avoid any such live incident by putting the helicopter pictures in 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.”
In addition to the statement issued by Michael Clemente, Shepherd Smith also apologized on air. Shepherd Smith is the anchor of “Studio B with Shepherd Smith.” He was on the air, live, when the news feed of the chase and suicide occurred. The following was his on-air apology:
“Well, some explaining to do. While were taking that car chase and showing it to you live when the guy pulled over and got out of the vehicle we went on delay. So that’s why I didn’t talk for about 10 seconds. We created a five second delay as if you were to bleep back your DVR five seconds that’s what we did with the picture we were showing you so that we would see in the studio what was happening five seconds before you did so that if anything went horribly wrong we’d be able to cut away from it without subjection you to it. And we really messed up and we’re all very sorry. That didn’t belong on TV. We took every precaution we knew how to keep that from being on TV and I personally apologize to you that that happened. Sometimes we see a lot of things that we don’t let get out to you because it’s not appropriate, it’s insensitive, it’s just wrong. And that was wrong and that won’t happen again on my watch and I’m sorry. We’ll update you on what happened with that guy and how that went down tonight on the FOX Report. I’m sorry. [sic]”
For those who saw the broadcast of “Studio B with Shepherd Smith” when the suicide aired, Shepherd Smith was visibly shaken. “Get off that! Get off that!” Shepherd Smith shouted repeatedly, but it was too late. The footage had already aired. One Twitter user tweeted that “Shepherd Smith is dumbfounded. And on the brink of tears.”
Although this incident was clearly an accident and FOX News has apologized, the fallout for this incident is still unknown.