By Vincent Duffy, RTDNF Chairman
Last Thursday, a local television station in Detroit posted a pretty dramatic video clip from a Houston Astros baseball game on their website. They also showed it and talked about it on the air during their morning show.
The short YouTube video shows a young girl almost catching a ball tossed to her by a player at a major league baseball game, but an adult woman standing next to the little girl grabs the ball from the girl’s hands, and then turns to celebrate with her friends as they give each other high-fives. The little girl looks sad, but turns and walks away without complaint.
It’s a pretty compelling little video clip, guaranteed to spark an emotional reaction. Maybe you saw it when it originally happened in May of 2011? The TV station newscast and website clearly presented the video as if it happened the night before, which was Wednesday. But something didn’t seem right.
On the video itself, there is a clear graphic that says “Friday.” Also, on the night in question the Astros didn’t play a home game, they lost to the Rangers 7-3 in Arlington. A quick Google search of “woman steals baseball from girl” identified posts of the same video dated 2012 and 2011, and it took about two minutes to find the original video from two and a half years ago.
But these things happen, right? We can all imagine some young, overnight producer hired more for their “social media skills” than their ability to do that “fact checking journalism thing” making a mistake like this. Surely once news managers are alerted to the error, they will take down the video clip and explain what happened. Not this time.
A message asking about the slip-up went unanswered. Some viewers (including me) pointed out in the comment section (with links) that the video was old. One viewer even relayed his twitter conversation with the station, where the station defended itself by saying, “It happened again last night.” (What are the odds?)
Why would a station keep up a video that was clearly old, and continue to assert that “you should see this, it happened last night?” I can only guess it’s because it was getting hits like crazy. Many people commented about how evil the adult was in the video and the video was becoming very popular (again).
Are stations so hungry for web hits that they will allow a story they know is wrong to stay on the website, simply because it’s popular? As of this morning, the video is still on the station’s website, and it still says the event happened last Wednesday, and it’s still wrong.
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