Early this morning WBTV Weekend anchor Kristen Miranda reported that the Reverend Billy Graham had died. (he has not)
The good news is that the Reverend Graham is very much alive, the bad news is someone at WBTV now has a much higher power to answer to, than senior management.
Nearly 30 minutes later the WBTV Anchor corrected her error.
“We got some bad news from CBS News this morning–some incorrect information that the Reverend Graham had passed away,” Miranda said. “We can tell you we’ve checked with Mission Hospital in Asheville and they tell us that is not true.”
It is pretty clear that WBTV had some sort of major lapse in judgement.
At 4:00 PM This afternoon WBTV issued this statement:
On Saturday during its early morning newscast, WBTV News mistakenly reported the passing of the Rev. Billy Graham. Our show producer read what he thought was a breaking news crawl about Rev. Graham on an off- air network feed.
He made the decision to air the information without checking it first. That was a mistake.
Within minutes, other staff members contacted the hospital where Rev. Graham is being treated, to find out that he is doing well in his recovery from pneumonia.
We made an on-air correction immediately.
Accuracy is the most important ingredient of any newscast. We at WBTV strive every day to make sure that the news we deliver is accurate, fair and useful to our viewers.
Today we made an unfortunate mistake.
We apologize to Rev. Graham, his family, the staff of Mission Hospital in Asheville where he is being treated and most of all our viewers.
We will be reviewing exactly what happened and we will take steps to make sure that it does not happen again.
-- Dennis Milligan, News Director, WBTV