CNN Simulcasts Affil’s Report For FNC

By Brian 

CNN borrowed a report airing on the Fox News Channel during breaking news coverage of the Chicago airplane accident Thursday night, Phil Rosenthal reports.

“For a little while Thursday night…the most important man in all of cable TV news was none other than WFLD-Ch. 32 reporter Dane Placko,” Rosenthal explains:

“Placko, between live on-scene dispatches for Channel 32, was wrapping up an interview with an area resident as part of a report especially for Fox News Channel host Greta Van Susteren around 9:40 p.m. when CNN’s Anderson Cooper also cut to him.

“I heard Greta in my ear. I was having a conversation with her, but obviously Anderson Cooper was listening in as well,” Placko said Friday…

…CNN has an affiliate agreement with WFLD, a Fox-owned station, as it does with several other Chicago TV outlets. So it can run material from WFLD, just as archrival Fox News Channel can. But if a reporter is talking directly to one network, it’s customary for the other to back off.

“Typically you wouldn’t want to show Dane Placko speaking to another network,” said David Rhodes, Fox News Channel’s director of newsgathering. “You’d wait until that’s done and your desk would traffic with WFLD, ‘OK, can we have Dane when Fox is done with him?’ Well, they obviously couldn’t wait.

“Dane had something good that he was giving to Greta, so they just took it,” Rhodes said. “And that’s how you end up in a position where Cooper is showing Dane talking to Greta. The good part of it is Dane Placko is such a star, he’s on two channels at once.”

The poaching was “unintentional,” a CNN spokeswoman said. The network said it looked as though he was just interviewing an eyewitness.

“That’s what I would say,” Rhodes said. “I would be, ‘Uh, yeah, we didn’t know,’ and ‘It was breaking news.’ Those are all my stock answers. You call me back next week if we make a mistake and I’ll say the same thing. But how could you not know?”