Do all balding black guys look the same to ABC News? As anchor Charles Gibson teased a Tuesday World News story, about DC administrative law judge Roy Pearson's $54 million lawsuit against a Korean family's Washington, DC dry cleaning establishment over losing a pair of his pants, viewers saw video of what clearly appeared to be ex-DC Mayor Marion Barry. Gibson announced, over video of Barry in front of the DC courthouse, “Pant Suit: Ever lost anything at the dry cleaners? This man did, and claims he deserves $54 million dollars and he's not pulling your leg.”Barry is now a member of the District's City Council, but he has been in some legal trouble of late over charges of driving under the influence, and thus has recently visited the local courthouse.
UPDATE: ABC corrected the video for later editions. The tease at the top of World News as aired at 9pm EDT on NewsChannel 8, a DC-area cable news channel owned by the local ABC affiliate, replaced the video of Barry with video of Pearson. Gibson's audio was not changed.
Last Night's Broadcast
June 13, 2007 11:00 AM
Tuesday's 6:30 pm, ET feed of "World News" mistakenly used video in the program's open of DC council member Marion Barry instead of Roy Pearson. We immediately recognized the error and corrected all subsequent feeds of the broadcast. We are deeply sorry for this mistake and apologize to Mr. Barry, Mr. Pearson, and to our viewers for the error.
UPDATE, 16:45 EDT, June 19 (Ken Shepherd): Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel columnist Eugene Kane picked up on this item last Thursday and wrote about it at his "Raising Kane" blog. Kane sees a systematic carelessness in newsrooms when picking through file photos of famous black people:
I am in the news business, so I know people can always make mistakes. But the way some national networks continually mis-identify pictures of black people needs to be addressed by the journalism industry. Maybe they need more diversity in their newsrooms so they can ask a black person to identify each picture?