Fox News erroneously reported that Baltimore police shot a man yesterday in the same neighborhood where unrest broke out last week, the Washington Post reports. The mistake was quickly corrected by the news network. The midafternoon report by correspondent Mike Tobin, which also found its way onto Foxnews.com, was potentially dangerous, given the elevated tensions in Baltimore’s Sandtown section, where where protests and looting erupted after the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody.
Tobin's report caused about 30 minutes of unease in Baltimore before Fox anchor Shepard Smith went on-air to correct the story and apologize for the incorrect information. His apology came after a statement from Baltimore police that there had been no shooting. Live news reports often make errors, and Tobin's is the latest in a long series. Yet few recent reports have had as much potential as Tobin's to stir a violent reaction, considering it came amid more than a week of protests about alleged police misconduct. Smith began to back way from Tobin's initial live report after 3 p.m., although he inaccurately reported, “According to our team there . . . an officer shot that man you see there on the stretcher. We are hearing conflicted reports on local scanners there. It's very early, and Fox News cannot confirm exactly what happened.”