Fox News‘ Shep Smith was covering a live car chase outside a Phoenix, Arizona on his 3 p.m. show on Friday with things went horribly wrong. Smith was narrating the events of the high-speed chase as it happened. At one point, the carjacker stopped his car, got out, and the chase continued on foot.
Smith was still narrating when suddenly he stopped and yelled to his control room, “Get off! Get off! Get off! Get off it. Get off it. Get off it!” The network aired footage of the carjacker shooting himself in the head before abruptly cutting to a commercial.
When the show returned from the commercial, a somber Smith addressed his audience.
“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
Obviously, the five second delay wasn’t quite enough — because the audience was subjected to it. Smith and his team acknowledge their error. “We really messed up,” he says, “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 apologzie to you that that happened.”
He continues, “Sometimes we see a lot of things that we don’t let get to you,
because it’s not time appropriate, it’s insensitve, 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.”
UPDATE: Fox News has released the following statement from Michael Clemente, Executive Vice President, News. “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.”