Denver ABC News Apologizes for Fake Photo of Paula Broadwell's David Petrau

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(Credit: The Denver Channel, screenshot)

Denver ABC-affiliate KMGH, also known as 7News or the Denver Channel, apologized yesterday for its “viral” error in using a Photoshopped picture of Paula Broadwell’s book on David Petraeus.

The cover for the book All In was altered to read All Up in my Snatch.

According to the station’s apology, the fake photo was shown during its Nov. 12 report on “Petraeus’ relationship with his biographer, Paula Broadwell.”

Station news director Jeff Harris is quoted as calling the incident a “mistake” as well as “a regrettable and an embarrassing error.”  He added:

“We are mortified this appeared during our 5 p.m. news broadcast.  The editor pulled the image of the book cover from the Internet without realizing it had been doctored.  We sincerely regret the error and have corrected the story to avoid any recurrence of its broadcast.  We are following up internally as well to avoid a repeat of this inexcusable oversight.”

iMediaEthics asked Harris what exactly was corrected.  He explained by phone that the station has an “all news subchannel.”  The station corrected and “took the book title out” of the newscast that is aired on the subchannel, which he said “illustrates that we took immediate action.”  Harris added that “it’s important for folks to understand that we’re upfront and mortified about the mistake.”

Harris noted that he’s received “seven viewer emails” about the photo error, which largely were “a result of what they saw online,” as opposed to in response to the initial broadcast.

The station’s published apology noted the fake photo, which the station re-posted, came from a reporter’s Internet search.  The America Blog posted a reader’s video of the segment in question.  Business Insider reported that “Death and Taxes claims responsibility” for the phony cover.  In a post on its website, Death and Taxes noted that it had published the doctored photo in question, writing

“We thought it was pretty funny but also pretty crude and in poor taste, and we unpublished it after about 5 minutes. But not before the web page got cached and the image made searchable through Google images.”

According to Death and Taxes, that cached photo was the one used by KMGH. KMGH’s Harris confirmed with iMediaEthics that “it appears so.”

KMGH isn’t the only outlet to fall for a hoax book cover. As iMediaEthics wrote in 2010, CBS News aired a fake photo changing the name of George W. Bush’s book Decision Points.  The faked cover turned the title from simply Decision Points to Decision Points: How I managed to go eight years without making one good decision.

iMediaEthics wrote this summer when KMGH questioned ABC News’ reporting on the Aurora, Colorado shooting during a screening of the film The Dark Knight Rises.  According to KMGH’s July 25 report, “knowledgeable sources” called reports that shooting suspect James Holmes spat at jail officers weren’t true.  Following this report, ABC News posted a note to readers about KMGH’s conflicting reporting, as we wrote at the time.

Hat Tip: Huffington Post

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Denver ABC News Apologizes for Fake Photo of Paula Broadwell’s David Petraus Biography

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