In yet another example of deteriorating media standards, a Fox affiliate in Connecticut aired such a blatantly offensive report this week that the station executives are falling over themselves trying apologize to viewers and pretty much the entire female population.
The station, Fox CT, which covers Connecticut, showed video of only women’s breasts, not faces, in a story about a Women’s History Month celebration.
News of the gaffe made the rounds on the journalism blogs and later into mainstream news sources, putting the station and its executives in crisis mode. The station offered this apology on its Facebook page:
“FOX CT apologizes for mistakenly airing inappropriate file footage in conjunction with this morning’s report on Women’s Day at the Connecticut State Capitol. The video should never have aired. FOX CT will publicly apologize on today’s newscasts, as well as through our social media platforms. We are also implementing procedures to keep this from happening in the future.”
The station did not say how the incident happened or what, if any, action it was taking to punish those involved. As of Thursday afternoon, there were more than a hundred fiery comments on its Facebook page
responding to the apology. Here’s one from a female commenter:
“Who made the ‘mistake’? It wasn't like ‘oops, we accidentally showed footage of anonymous boobs today!’ no- SOMEONE thought it would be appropriate to take the easy/lazy/uncreative way out and just go grab some B-roll of womens' chests. And someone thought that was the best way to visually represent women's contributions to, and position in, society. What a waste of potential. you could have used pictures of Susan B. Anthony, Michell Obama, Julia Richards, Madonna, Audrey Hepburn, etc etc all in a lovely mash-up... but no. random boobs. well at least the cameraman had fun. Someone better have gotten fired or written up seriously for this. It's ridiculous.”
When asked by journalism blogger Jim Romenesko
what action the station would be taking against the person or person responsible, the station would not comment.
Taking a page from crisis communication planning, the station gets credit for immediately apologizing but they failed by not offering more detail on how it happened, and what will happen to the person responsible. It’s a standard that the journalists at FOX CT would expect of the sources they cover every day.
How many times have this and other television reporters called out sources who hid under the statement of not commenting on personnel matters?
Gil Rudawsky heads the crisis communication and issues management practice at GroundFloor Media in Denver. He is a former reporter and editor. Read his blog or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.