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Fox News Channel on Friday accidentally broadcast the suicide of a carjacker following a high-speed police chase in Arizona.
The network followed the pursuit via helicopter feed and continued to broadcast after the suspect exited the vehicle with a gun. As anchor Shepard Smith narrated, the man began running down a dirt road, fell once, then stopped next to a small tree. With his back to the camera, he shot himself in the head, to audible gasps in the newsroom. Watch the video here.
After the shooting, Shepard is seen trying to get the control room to cut away from the scene, saying, “Get off, get off, get off, get off, get off, get off, get off — get off it, get off it, GET OFF IT!” After a short break, Smith returned and apologized for the broadcast, saying that the network’s five-second tape delay had failed.
“Well, uh, some explaining to do. While we were taking that car chase and showing it to you live, when the guy pulled over and got out of the vehicle, we went on delay. So, that’s why I didn’t talk for about 10 seconds. We created a five second delay as if you were to bleep back your DVR five seconds, that’s what we did with the picture we were showing you, so that we could see in the studio five seconds before you did, so if anything went horribly wrong, we would be able to cut away from it without subjecting you to it.
And we really messed up. And we’re all very sorry. That didn’t belong on TV. We took every precaution we knew how to take to keep that from being on TV. And I personally apologize to you that that happened.
Sometimes we see a lot of things that we don’t let get to you, because it’s not time appropriate, it’s insensitive, it’s just wrong. And that was wrong. And that won’t happen again on my watch. And I’m sorry.
We’ll update you on what happened with that guy and how that went down tonight on The Fox Report. I’m sorry.
Insiders at Fox said a producer failed to hit a “dump” button that would have prevented the audience from witnessing the event.
Later, executive vp news editorial Michael Clemente issued the following statement: “We took every precaution to avoid any such live incident by putting the helicopter pictures on a five second delay. Unfortunately, this mistake was the result of a severe human error and we apologize for what viewers ultimately saw on the screen.”
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