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article imageFox 5 News airs apology after portraying Obama as rape suspect

By Megan Hamilton     Feb 17, 2015 in Politics
San Diego - After mistakenly portraying President Barack Obama as a rape suspect during a news broadcast last Friday, Fox 5 San Diego has apologized after initially saying it was "no big deal."
Shortly after 10 p.m. on Friday the 13th, viewers watched as anchor Kathleen Bade said: "The only suspect in a sex assault at SDSU will not be charged," while simultaneously a photo of Obama appeared on screen with the caption "No Charges."
The shot of Obama was on screen for about five seconds, but in the newsroom it was noticed immediately, Mike Wille, an assignment editor said.
"Yeah, there was an accident when they had an over-the-shoulder" display, Wille told the Times of San Diego. "It wasn't on purpose."
When asked why an immediate on-air acknowledgment or apology wasn't forthcoming, Wille said "they really don't do that when it's a small thing like that."
However, at 10:31 p.m. on Sunday, Fox 5 anchor Misha DiBono read the following statement:
"And we have an apology now. Friday night at 10 o'clock, we inadvertently used a photo of President Obama while reporting on a story about charges being dropped in a local case. We regret the error."
A top spokesman for the station's corporate parent, asked earlier on Sunday to comment, acknowledged that Fox 5 San Diego "made a very unfortunate mistake during Friday evening's newscast."
On its website the station posted a note titled "An Apology To Our Viewers" :
"Last Friday night during KSWB-TV's 10 p.m. newscast, we inadvertently displayed a photo of President Obama while reporting a local story on the police dropping charges in an ongoing criminal case. The mistake was unintentional. On Sunday's 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts we delivered an on-air apology for the mistake. As we said the, we regret the error and apologize to our viewers for making it."
Wille isn't sure when Bade was told about the errant Obama image, which appeared during a report about the District Attorney's office deciding not to charge a suspect because the evidence was weak.
Thomas Condry, a graphic designer for the station, confessed to the mistake in the Times comments section and apologized, The Wrap reports.
"Please refrain from judging this station," Condry wrote, responding to one commenter. "Everyone here works very hard, and this was my mistake alone. I don't know if you know any employee here, but I do know I haven't seen you in the station which leads me to believe you know nothing about our level of respect or contempt regarding any topic."
With 2015 just barely started, Fox News is already off to a rough start for the year.
Crooks and Liars reports that the city of Paris has been given the go-ahead to sue Fox for falsely reporting that sections of Paris have been taken over by Muslims and made inaccessible for everyone else.
Then, Cnet reports, the Twitterverse exploded in laughter after one Fox News "expert," Steve Emerson, said that the city of Birmingham, England was a hotbed of Muslim activity and that "non-Muslims dare not enter."
As the author of the article, Chris Matyszczyk points out, Birmingham is 21.8 percent Muslim, while Christians make up 46.1 percent of the population, and another 19.8 percent say they don't follow any religion.
Emerson apologized for his goof, but it certainly gave folks on Twitter a good chuckle. After seeing a photo of Queen Elizabeth wearing a head scarf one person joked: "The Queen is now being forced to wear a hijab by 'Moslems' due to the sharia law enforcement in the UK?"
British Prime Minister David Cameron is said to have responded:
"When I heard this, frankly I choked on my porridge and thought it must be April Fool's Day. This guy is clearly a complete idiot."
As for the Obama photo gaffe, Politicus notes that a five second mistake is a substantial error, and added that even if the graphic is accidental, an apology is in order.
"There should be a sense of urgency when a mistake happens, not a hope that if the error gets swept up under the rug no one will notice," wrote the article's author, Jason Easley.
He also wrote:
"One can only imagine the level of rage that Republicans would feel if this "mistake" happened to George W. Bush? When a local station depicts President Obama as a rapist, it's no big deal, but when anyone criticized Bush's Iraq war all hell would break loose."
Hopefully this will be the last Fox News faux pas for the year.
News at 11.
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