NFL fans watching WPXI yesterday morning were surprised to hear anchor Todd McDermott report that Hines Ward, a receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers, had signed with the rival Baltimore Ravens.
“We’re a little in shock,” McDermott told co-anchor Jennifer Abney.
McDermott was right to be in shock, because the news — which originated from BroCouncil.com — was not true. In a spoof report, the website said Ward had signed an “incentive-laden 3-year $9 million contract;” the article quoted Ward as saying, “I viciously tried to block this release like I have viciously blocked the Ravens for so many years.”
McDermott corrected himself on the air just 17 minutes later, saying, “We got fooled by a Baltimore Ravens spoof website that said Hines Ward had signed with the Ravens. That can’t happen.”
WPXI news director Mike Goldrick told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the station “erroneously used information from a spoof website.”
“We promise to be more vigilant and tighter measures have been but in place,” he said.