It’d be like Groundhog Day, except it involves the most serious story of our time.
Nearly a week after it was caught using footage of Italian hospitals to report on conditions in New York City, CBS News did the exact same thing when talking about a different crisis.
On March 25, the network used footage of a crowded hospital room during a segment on the “CBS Morning News” while talking about hospitals in Gotham. The footage in question was actually from Sky News on March 22 in a report on the massive overcrowding in Lombardy, Italy’s hardest-hit region.
During a Pandemic it is essential that the Media gives us real and accurate information.
It’s completely irresponsible for @CBSNews to use footage from an Italian Hospital when talking about the outbreak in New York City.
This is unacceptable. pic.twitter.com/Essp4uEHle
— ALX ?? (@alx) March 30, 2020
CBS News blamed the whole thing on a dodgy editing job.
“It was an editing mistake. We took immediate steps to remove it from all platforms and shows,” a spokesman told The Daily Caller.
Fair enough. That was probably a good time to delete the footage from every hard drive in the CBS building. Scrub those things like it was a Hillary Clinton server. I’m sure there’s some kind of program you can use that can make sure one clip of a hospital in the Lombardy region is off every platform. If it was a mistake, there are ways to remedy that mistake.
Ways that CBS News was unwilling to consider, evidently:
After @CBSNews was called out for airing footage of a hospital in Italy and saying it was New York, they apologized and said it was an error.
Less than a week later, they aired the same footage, this time when talking about Pennsylvania.
— ALX ?? (@alx) April 8, 2020
To quote Billy Crystal on “Saturday Night Live”: “I hate it when that happens!”
At least this time it didn’t air on CBS proper but on CBSN, its streaming news network for cord-cutters who want 24 hours of news but don’t want it anywhere nearly as well produced as actual news. The footage in question is at about the 3:00 mark:
“In Pennsylvania, cases are skyrocketing at the rate of 1,000 a day,” the reporter intones. “Gov. Tom Wolf is appealing to citizens to help.”
Meanwhile, if you’ve seen that hospital before, you’ve seen the first clip. Good work, CBS News.
So what was it this time? A shout-out to the overworked heroes of the Italian health care system? Another mistake?
Italy’s system isn’t comparable to ours. It was hit with a perfect storm and didn’t have anywhere near the number of resources it needed. There’s a serious issue when we try to compare apples to oranges, particularly when the comparison is meant to invoke fear in viewers.
When this happens twice, it’s not an accident — it’s fear-mongering.
COVID-19 is scary enough on its own, thank you, without shoddy, swampy reportage on top of it.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.