San Diego Station Sorry for Using President Picture for Rape Story

By Kevin Eck 

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San Diego FOX affiliate KSWB is apologizing for using a picture of President Obama in a story on a suspected rape.

“The only suspect in a sex assault at SDSU will not be charged,” read anchor Kathleen Bade during the station’s Friday 10:00 p.m. newscast. Bade’s over the shoulder had a shot of the president with a cutline that read “no charges.”

The Times of San Diego first reported the story.

The Obama shot lasted about 5 seconds, but it was noticed immediately in the newsroom, said Mike Wille, an assignment editor.

“Yeah, there was an accident when they had an over-the-shoulder” display, Wille told Times of San Diego. “It wasn’t on purpose.”

Asked why there was no immediate on-air acknowledgment or apology for the error, Wille said: “They really don’t do that when it’s a small thing like that.”

But at 10:31 p.m. Sunday, Fox 5 anchor Misha DiBono read this statement:

“And we have an apology now. Friday night at 10 o’clock, we inadvertently used a photo of President Obama while reporting on a story about charges being dropped in a local case. We regret the error.”

Earlier Sunday, in response to requests for comment, a top spokesman for the station’s corporate parent acknowledged that Fox 5 San Diego “made a very unfortunate mistake during Friday evening’s newscast.”

The station also posted a note on its website, headlined: “An Apology To Our Viewers”:

Last Friday night during KSWB-TV’s 10 p.m. newscast, we inadvertently displayed a photo of President Obama while reporting a local story on the police dropping charges in an ongoing criminal case. The mistake was unintentional. On Sunday’s 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts we delivered an on-air apology for the mistake. As we said then, we regret the error and apologize to our viewers for making it.