So Y’all Don’t Fact Check? The Biggest Media Mistakes In Recent History

September 6, 2013  |  
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We depend on the media for all the news we need to know. But sometimes they get the news all the way wrong. Check out some of the biggest media mistakes in recent history. They’ll make you laugh, make you sad and remind you to always double check your facts before you start spreading stories.

Get Me a Picture of a Black Rapper

When Chris Kelly died, reporters at NBC featured this picture of Jermaine Dupri.

Get Me a Picture of a Black Actor

When actor Michael Clarke Duncan died in 2012, ABC7 confused him with Terry Crews and posted his photo instead.

He Wasn’t Even In That Movie…

Sometimes news outlets think all actors look alike too. This newspaper managed to mistake s Christoph Waltz for Robert De Niro in Django Unchained.

We’re Pretty Sure He’s the Boston Bomber

Fox NewsABC News, the Boston Globe, and other news outlets beat the police to the punch when they identified missing identified Brown University student Sunil Tripathi as the Boston Bomber. Unfortunately, they were dead wrong. Apparently the reporters were getting their news from rumors on the online forum instead of from actual reporting. As it turns out, the real bombers were Chechen brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

No, That Other Old Black Dude with a Beard

During ABC’s telecast of the president’s inaugural address, George Stephanopoulos embarrassed himself when he mistook basketball legend Bill Russell for Morgan Freeman. Luckily, someone whispered the right name in his ear and he recovered — just not quickly enough for it not to be awkward.

Misrepresenting Shirley Sherrod

Back in 2010, a media mistake cost USDA official Shirley Sherrod her job. Shirley gave the above speech to the NAACP. Then someone edited it to make her inspiring speech sound like a confession for racial discrimination on the job. That edited video was published on Shirley was promptly fired. When the truth came back, Shirley was offered another job, but she chose to sue instead.

Do We Get Obama Care Or Not?

Last year, CNN and Fox News both dropped the reporting ball when they announced that Obama Care was struck down. This fumble on one of the nation’s biggest stories has earned a place as one of the biggest reporting errors in history.

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Qaddafi’s Business

The New York Times proved it wasn’t above a little gossip when it reported a story that claimed Qaddafi opened his robes and flashed President Sarkozy’s former wife Cécilia during a meeting. The story was not only not true, it was traced back to a man that wasn’t even at the meeting., Wyclef or Wale? Same Difference

The morning after the 2012 election, Florida station 7 News reporter Blake Burman made everyone uncomfortable when he called the man standing next to him Wyclef Jean and then Wale. It was actually from the Black Eyed Peas.

Soltan and Soltani

Sometimes media mistakes have major consequences. Back in 2009, Neda Agha Soltan was shot by a sniper during the struggle to bring democracy to Iran. Once news outlets from around the world obtained her picture, she became the face of the revolution for democracy in the region.

Unfortunately, the woman pictured wasn’t Neda Agha Soltan. It was in fact, Neda Soltani, an English literature professor with no relation to the conflict. The picture was from Soltan’s Facebook page but no one took the time to confirm that it was her.

As a result of the mistaken identity, Soltani had to flee Iran — leaving her job and her family behind. She was eventually forced to seek asylum in the United States.

What’s In a Name?

When Asiana flight 214 crashed earlier this year, Bay Area Fox affiliate KTVU released the name of of the pilots: “Sum Ting Wong,” “Wi Tu Lo,” “Ho Lee Fuk” and “Bang Ding Ow”. Only after the broadcast did the reporter realize that he was the victim of a racist prank. Those weren’t the pilots names, but random phrases pronounced with an “Asian accent”.

Remember When Obama Was on Tiger Beat?

Of course you don’t, because it didn’t really happen. The story was originally released by satirical paper “The Onion” as a way to poke fun at Barack Obama’s campaign for the tween vote during his first election. Then the New York Times picked up the “story” and wrote an article about how the cover photo helped Obama’s popularity surge.

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The Death of Tony Scott

When “Top Gun” director Tony Scott died, ABC News reported that he succumbed to an inoperable brain tumor. Later, news outlets from The Huffington Post to People reported the story too. Unfortunately, the story was wrong. Tony Scott committed suicide. His family had to reach out to TMZ in their time of grief.

Pulling Teeth

Back in 2012, the Daily Mail reported a story about Anna Maćkowiak — a dentist that sedated her boyfriend Marek Olszewski then pulled out all of his teeth after she caught him cheating. The story was posted online as a hoax. And now the Daily Mail is under scrutiny for grabbing random stories from the web without doing any actual reporting.

The Sexiest Man Alive

When The Onion published a hilarious article declaring Kim Jong-Un “The Sexiest Man Alive”, North Korea’s People’s Daily failed to get the joke. They reported the article as proof that not even Americans can deny Outstanding Leader’s undeniable charm. Then, to make things even funnier, China’s People’s Daily online ran with the story too…and dedicated a 55 page photo spread of Kim Jong-Un looking “Hot”.
Kim Jung

On July 20, an ABC reporter falsely linked the man accused of killing 12 people in a Colorado movie theater to a statewide Tea Party organization. The news division and the reporter, Brian Ross, later apologized for the error, which was made in an off-the-cuff manner on “Good Morning America.”

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