Last year, I put up a story about WFOR getting their facts wrong. Eventually, they corrected their story, although as far as I know, I'm the only one who heard their apology. Nothing about the error ever appeared on their website. I didn't think it was all that big a deal; it didn't besmirch anyone's reputation beyond their own.
I just didn't realize how badly stained their reputation already was.
Turns out, that wasn't the first time WFOR put up false information. Back in October 2006, they interrupted programming to report that the son of Miami-Dade Police Director Robert Parker had been arrested for armed robbery. The fact is that Robert Parker Jr. hadn't been arrested; for that crime or any other.
To add insult to injury, when WFOR reporter Gary Nelson arrived at the police station to cover the story and was told that Robert Parker, JR hadn't been arrested, Nelson immediately called his station to report that the police were engaged in a cover-up!
From the Herald article:
''Nelson then proceeded to get on his cellular phone and told someone that he felt that there was some sort of cover-up,'' according to the lawsuit, filed by firm Martin, Lister, Alvarez & Genovese.The false story was on their website, and was repeated on air several times, over several hours. Eventually, of course, they did retract the story and apologize for their error.
At the time of the story, WPLG interviewed Director Parker, who said in part:
"...a great travesty has been done here in terms of besmirching my reputation..."
Of course, WFOR chose a different quote:
"It's certainly unfortunate and I'm already starting to feel the effects of it."
I certainly remember the story; but I do not remember the correction. I guess they didn't interrupt programming several times to make it.
Robert Parker has filed a lawsuit against WFOR and Gary Nelson. His son, Robert Jr, is also a plaintiff in the suit.