Florida's Capitol News Service Fires 2 after Republican Graphic Fail

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(Credit: Flickr, "DonkeyHotey")

Florida’s Capitol News Service fired two staff members over a graphic that call the Republican Party of Florida the Reprehensive Party of Florida, Jim Romenesko reported. The graphic was aired in a segment on Miami NBC-affiliate WTJV, which, like Capitol News Service, has apologized for the error.

Before the apologies were issued, Republican Party of Florida chairman Lenny Curry had sent a letter of complaint to the NBC station, Mediate reported. The letter, published on the Miami Herald‘s blog, called for “immediate action” from the station. It says:

“This blatant disregard for journalist ethics and impartiality is a complete abdication of your station’s professional duty to truth at best and slander at worst.”

The letter goes on to state that the party was considering legal action and wants an on-air apology.  “We are currently reviewing our legal options against your station, but at minimum we demand an on-air apology for violating journalist ethics and public discipline for any employees responsible for the creation of this graphic,” the letter reads.

See above a screenshot from the NBC Miami video news segment.


Apologies all around

In a statement published on its website  Capitol News Service accepted “full responsibility” for the graphic fail. The statement says:

“Capitol News Service takes full responsibility for an error that resulted in one of our clients, WTVJ incorrectly labeling on screen material.

“In a report in which we played a web ad by the Republican Party of Florida, our employees indicated it should have the on screen chyron ‘Reprehensive Party of Florida.’  We deeply regret this incident.  The people who made the error and reviewed it without catching it are no longer in our employ.”

See below the video containing the graphic.

NBC 6 also apologized for the graphic in a statement published on its website. The station noted that it didn’t create the graphic, but admitted:

“We do, however, know it was our responsibility to catch the graphic and we regret that we did not prevent it from airing. We are addressing this with our employees to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again. Once again, we sincerely regret this incident.”

iMediaEthics has contacted the Republican Party of Florida seeking a response to the two public apologies. We’ve also asked Capitol News Service if the news package containing the erroneous graphic was sent to any other news stations for broadcast. We’ll update with any  response.

Just yesterday, MSNBC president Phil Griffin apologized to the Republican National Committee after the MSNBC Twitter account’s post about Cheerios Super Bowl ad featuring a bi-racial family.  The RNC called for a boycott of its staff appearing on MSNBC unless Griffin issued an apology. MSNBC also fired “the person responsible for the tweet,” according to Griffin’s apology.

UPDATE: 1/31/2014 10:11 PM EST: Susan Hepworth from the Republican Party of Florida told iMediaEthics by email: “We are satisfied with their apologies.”

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Florida’s Capitol News Service Fires 2 after Republican Graphic Fail

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