Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Baltimore TV Reporter Fired for Altering John Gibson Video

A producer/reporter for WBAL in Baltimore has been fired for admitting that he was the one who doctored a video to make it seem that FOX News commentator John Gibson compared Attorney General Eric Holder to a monkey. The doctored video had Gibson using the phrase "bright blue scrotum."

The video gained notoriety when The Huffington Post picked it up from YouTube. HuPo later ran a correction and an apology.

David Zurawik of the Baltimore Sun writes:

Beyond the end of [John Sanders'] career at WBAL, the video highlights the lack of verification at popular news Web sites such as the Huffington Post. Like many news aggregate sites, the Post does not employ traditional news reporters but relies mainly on contributions from readers, celebrities and columnists. Sanders' dismissal could also be seen as a cautionary tale for those who think that they can post something on the Internet as a prank for the enjoyment of their friends and that it will go no further.

According to a statement issued by Wanda Draper, director of public affairs for WBAL, Sanders altered the tape and posted it on YouTube "without the prior knowledge or consent" of the Hearst-Argyle-owned NBC affiliate.

"Further, this video does not represent the views of WBAL-TV or Hearst-Argyle Television," the statement said.

Sanders said he made the tape after he heard other anchors on Fox News repeating the phrase "bright blue scrotum" while they reported the monkey story.

"I just kept hearing the phrase 'bright blue scrotum,' and I thought it was hilarious." he said in an interview last week on The B-Cast webcast on "And so I just recorded it."

And then he dubbed the words into Gibson's mouth and put the doctored tape on YouTube, where the Huffington Post picked it up and presented it as authentic.

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