An Idaho CBS affiliate made an egregious mistake using the likeness of prominent Black Lives Matter activist DeRay McKesson in a bank robbery story.
The news station KBOI tweeted a story with the headline “Would-be robber arrives early at banks to find doors locked” accompanied by an image of McKesson being arrested back in 2016 during a demonstration in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, after the police shooting of Alton Sterling.
The tweet found its way to McKesson, who retweeted it with the caption, “I haven’t been anywhere near a bank robbery. FYI.”
I haven't been anywhere near a bank robbery. FYI. https://t.co/c7mWZlMLR8— deray mckesson (@deray) July 15, 2017
Upon facing backlash for the error, KBOI apologized to the activist and former Baltimore mayoral candidate in another tweet: “We messed up. We mistakenly tweeted a photo of @deray with an unrelated story link about a bank robbery. We at KBOI are very sorry.”
We messed up. We mistakenly tweeted a photo of @deray with an unrelated story link about a bank robbery. We at KBOI are very sorry.— KBOI 2News (@KBOITV) July 15, 2017
As expected, many Twitter users did not stand for KBOI’s blunder and gave the news station a piece of their minds.
Screenshot this, because you may have a defamation/libel suit on your hands.— J Wood (@mxyzplx) July 15, 2017
Sue.— Steve Marmel (@Marmel) July 15, 2017
That's a helluva a mistake. How did you accidentally grab a years old photo?— Allison Britt (@iMakeArtifacts) July 15, 2017
You might want to check the work locker of your social media manager. Those white sheets probably aren't bed linens.— Kno (@Kno) July 15, 2017
This was more than a mess up. This is colossal ineptitude.— LibT.A.R.D.I.S. (@Danielia) July 15, 2017
One might be inclined to brush this issue off as a mistake made by some oblivious intern who failed to realize McKesson was a notable figure and thought they were choosing a random arrest photo floating around the internet. However, even if that is the case, the gaffe is much too serious to sweep under the rug.
Not only was this tweet damaging to McKesson’s reputation and public image, but it tarnished the integrity of the entire news station. Beyond President Donald Trump’s frequent bogus accusations against credible news sources, the issue of fake news is real.
In order to combat all of the fabricated and false stories on the web, news outlets must always be mindful of the information they are distributing to the public. KBOI failed to do this, and going forward, the veracity of all their content will likely be in question.
Banner/Thumbnail Photo Credit: Reuters, Andrew Kelly