Oops! Moment Fox channel’s closed captioning identified bombing suspect as ’19-year-old Zooey Deschanel’… and a local TV reporter who admitted on air ‘I don’t know sh*t’
The Boston bombings and the subsequent hunt for the suspects had put all mainstream media outlets to the test with rapid developments and unexpected twists – and many of them failed miserably.
On Friday night, a tense police standoff with a bombing suspect unfolded in real time on live TV in Watertown, Mass., giving rise to much confusion that left some reporters feeling exasperated.
And one correspondent for the channel New England Cable News let his frustration show – and be heard – on air.
New Girl wanted: Viewers who tuned in to Fox 4 and had their closed captioning option turned on were treated to the following script: ‘Marathon bombing, he is 19-year-old Zooey Deschanel
Media blunder: The actress (left) took to Twitter after learning of the snafu identifying her as the bombing suspect, calling it ‘Epic closed captioning FAIL!’ (right)
As veteran NBC presenter Brian Williams cut to the channel to get an update on the situation in Watertown, the unnamed reporter could be heard saying: ‘Oh, you’re not listening? Well, I don’t know sh*t,’ Gawker reported.
Williams quickly apologized for the profane yet honest admission, blaming the local news channel for the gaffe.
‘Well, that was a fortuitous time to dip into the feed of New England Cable News,’ he remarked sarcastically. ‘We apologize for the language inadvertently aired during what was a mix-up of communications on their part.’
But arguably the funniest blooper of the day came from Fox 4 Dallas-Fort Worth and its closed captioning provider.
Shortly before 2pm, as the manhunt for 19-year-old suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was underway in Watertown and Cambridge, viewers who tuned in to Fox 4 and had their closed captioning option turned on were treated to the following script: ‘Marathon bombing, he is 19-year-old Zooey Deschanel,’ the site Uproxx.com noted.
Deschanel, the 33-year-old star of the hit Fox sitcom New Girl, took to Twitter after learning of the snafu confusing her with the alleged terrorist, writing: ‘Whoa! Epic closed captioning FAIL!
The coverage of the bombings has been fraught from the start with sloppy and misleading reporting by major networks and newspapers.
Among the worst offenders was CNN, which has been roundly panned for erroneously claiming that FBI had arrested a suspect Thursday.
That misinformation was also picked up by Fox News, the AP and The Boston Globe, who later had to retract their earlier reporting.
Citing an anonymous source close to the investigation, CNN reporter John King had spent an hour speculating about the identity of the captured suspect before he was forced to walk back, claiming that the error was caused by miscommunication with a law enforcement official.
Earlier in the week, the New York Post landed in hot water over a series of false and grossly inaccurate reports, among them an article stating that ‘at least 12′ people were killed and nearly 50 injured in the attacks, although the actual casualty count included three fatalities and over 170 wounded, according to Mediate.com.
The tabloid was also responsible for a baseless report claiming that a 20-year-old Saudi man had been placed under guard at a hospital, as well as for the now-infamous ‘Bag Men’ cover that pictured two innocent men as suspects.