Posted in News Now

WBFF-TV’s “kill a cop” video was a big mistake, angered viewers, and hurt journalists

WBFF-TV has done major damage with a deceptive video it aired on Sunday.  The Fox affiliate in Baltimore apologized for the video on Monday, but viewers are still angry.

Gawker broke the story. It reported:

Baltimore’s WBFF aired a video of protesters chanting “kill a cop”– evidence, it claimed, of murderously violent rhetoric on the part of anti-brutality protesters in Washington, D.C. The only problem? The protesters weren’t chanting “kill a cop” at all, and there’s video evidence to prove it. (read more at Gawker)

Here’s the video of the Justice For All march:



Here’s WBFF-TV version of the event:





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Facebook Screenshot




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I’ve worked in TV news for more than 28 years. There are layers of producers and managers who oversee everything that goes into each newscast.  Managers usually sign-off on a scripts before the video is edited. How did this script slide by?  In TV news we’re all responsible for what goes on the air.

WBFF’s actions have lost the viewer’s trust. I feel for those on the news team who will be hurt by this video and had nothing to do with it. I’ve read posts on the stations Facebook page.  Viewers are to put it bluntly–pissed off and want heads to roll.

Let’s be honest, WBFF’s actions also hurt the rest of us journalists. We work very hard every day to be factual and fair  in our reporting. We can’t risk losing our loyal readers, viewers and listeners when we know they have many news sources to choose from.

With one video, WBFF left a trail of damage.

Now I hope the news director comes out with an explanation because the “honest misunderstanding” excuse is not good enough.  If people are not held accountable for this major mistake, then I hope news management provides the Sunday staff training to avoid any future problems.




Journalism is my life. I've been a reporter for 36 years. My office is the world. During my career I have been honored with 50 journalism awards and nominations. I'm also an Emmy-nominated TV commentator. I'm currently the VP of Programs for SPJ Fort Worth Chapter. I'm also the former VP of Online for the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

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