In sloppy journalism, a good story trumps the truth

Newspapers and, especially, TV news love all things pets. Dog saves boy; boy saves cats. whatever. They are rating boosters. We try to limit it, but sometimes…. That almost happened when we heard Friday that a CHP officer saved a box of kittens that was in a burning SUV in South El Monte. Some newspapers picked up a wire story. KFWB ran with a short story, and FOX 11 had video of the aftermath. Except, according to our reporter Brian Day, the CHP and firefighters said it never happened. There was a burning car and a box of kittens, but the twain never did meet. A local freelance stringer had video of the kittens and the burned out car, but apparently no one called to verify if what the videographer was peddling was true. The story was too good, I guess.
As an aside, shortly after the kittens, Fox11 tried to double its animal quotient by showing pandas. The story was about the “wild ways” Chinese officials are using to help pandas reproduce. The video? Showed pandas going at it. I thought the anchorwoman was going to swallow her tongue. It was hilarious.

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