O.J. Simpson Deposition Tapes Old News, ABC News Sorry for Claiming Fake Exclusive - iMediaEthics

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A screenshot from ABC News' Friday report.

You’ve got to be careful when tagging a story an exclusive, ABC News was recently reminded. The network apologized Sept. 25 after wrongly touting  O.J. Simpson’s deposition tapes.

ABC News claimed it had an exclusive by airing the tapes of Simpson’s deposition for the wrongful death suit against him. Video would be shown on ABC News’ 20/20 and in documentaries about Simpson on sister companies A&E and LMN.

In a story about the footage, ABC News added this editor’s note:

“Editor’s Note: This story has been adjusted to correct a previous inaccuracy. We were wrongly under the impression these deposition tapes were exclusive and had not aired before at length. We learned this morning’s portions did air 15 years ago. We apologize for the mistake.”

ABC News’ Elizabeth Vargas had said the tapes were “gathering dust” and “never-before-seen” on air Sept. 25, according to Mediaite. She even commented, “it’s hard to believe that all this sat for 20 years,” The Wrap reported.

The Los Angeles Times has more information on how ABC News said it acquired the tapes:

“ABC News had claimed the VHS tapes were gathering dust for years in the basement garage of the Westside law office where Petrocelli questioned Simpson and other witnesses in the civil trial. Documentary filmmakers Steven Auerbach, Chuck Braverman and Lawrence Schiller learned about them through Petrocelli, and featured extensive footage in their documentaries about the Simpson case that will air next week on cable networks A&E and LMN.”

According to CNN, NBC showed the tapes in 1999, 2000 and 2014.  NBC “went to court to get the tape released” Dateline‘s Chris Hansen said back in 1999, the Washington Post‘s Erik Wemple reported.

Making the error even more embarrassing for ABC News, NBC’s Dateline called out ABC News for the exclusive fail on Twitter.

20/20 responded:

Dateline‘s Josh Mankiewicz added:

iMediaEthics has written to ABC News for comment.

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O.J. Simpson Deposition Tapes Old News, ABC News Sorry for Claiming Fake Exclusive

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