Just When You Thought Fox News’ Baltimore Coverage Couldn’t Get Worse, It Made This Mistake


On Monday afternoon, Fox News alarmed social media with a dramatic news report of a man being shot by police in Baltimore. It might have been news to some that Fox was breaking a story on a police shooting—rather than discrediting such an account. But the network, eager to claim a scoop, quickly promoted this story. On-the-scene reporter Mike Tobin reported the supposed shooting and his reporting was quickly tweeted to a large audience by one of Fox News’ biggest stars, Greta Van Susteren: 

“About 2:45 we saw a guy running from the cops right at the intersection of North and Pennsylvania where the epicenter of the unrest here,” Tobin described on a phone call for a breaking news segment on Fox. “As he was running away, that officer drew his weapon and fired and struck the individual who was running away. He was a young black male and what we saw on the sidewalk as the crime scene unfolded over there, there was a revolver on the ground.”

Note that Toobin said “we saw” the shooting. But there was one problem. The incident did not happen. There was not a shooting for him to see.

Moments after the story was published, Fox’s Shepard Smith was forced to issue an apology for the network’s sloppy work:

Of course, this is yet another cautionary tale about recklessly reporting possibly incendiary events. It’s also noteworthy that it was Fox News, which typically discounts such stories, that rushed out this embarrassing and potentially dangerous report. Will there be an internal review? Shep, let us know.