Following hard on the horrific news that two people were killed in a helicopter crash in Seattle, Fox affiliate KDVR in Denver was reviewing the story with their de rigeur "friends-style" discussion panel. Four talking heads were seated across a soundstage with the usual blue-and-amber-themed lighting that news stations love. They began to review Twitter photos of the crash scene, culled from the popular social media site.
In a flash, things went stiff.
Deadspin reports that one of the photos they viewed was germane to the story at hand, the crash in Seattle. Then came another picture, this one of Johnny Depp as Edward Scissorhands. Anyone familiar with Twitter accounts could see what was happening. Someone in the control room production area was either simply advancing through one Twitter user's media rather than picking through multiple accounts for relevant photos to show, or they were relying on a hashtag search to give them accurate results.
Either way, their half-cocked methodology was flawed.
The production crew flipped on forward. The next picture was of what appeared to be some sort of omelet. Harmless enough, but still irrelevant.
Then it happened. Like a donkey punch to the back of the head, like a missile out of the dark, the next picture was of a penis protruding from an unzipped pair of jeans. The crew clicked on past to another picture of the crash area, but by now the damage was done. The Twitter feed was pulled from the screen, to be replaced by the horrorstruck faces of three of the four anchors. No one said a word about what was seen. The fourth anchor continued to talk, looking down at an iPad.
But this is the age of the DVR and of Twitter, Instagram, and legal weed in Colorado. This little mishap was not going to go away quietly. As crude as it would have been to screen cap and repost the picture of the offending phallus, it was the O-faces of the anchors that became the funniest part of the scene.
— Slade Sohmer (@SladeHV) March 18, 2014
Some viewers apparently thought that the anchor with the iPad had actually been controlling the feed, and that perhaps the photo might have been from his own collection. But the station issued this apology and explanation:
While reporting breaking news about the crash of the KOMO-TV helicopter in Seattle, FOX31 Denver accidentally broadcast an offensive photo while scrolling live through a Twitter feed of pictures from the crash scene.
The photo was mistakenly broadcast by our control room. It did not come from the tablet many viewers saw being used by one of our anchors.
We apologize for the inadvertent broadcast of the image and we are taking immediate steps to prevent such an accident from happening again.
Back to your normal lives.
Image via Twitter