A Sheriff’s Department in the Phoenix market has resorted to publicly shaming ABC affiliate KNXV for what it says is a string of inaccurate reports.
The most recent incident happened Wednesday when KNXV reported on Twitter three people had been taken to the hospital after two helicopters had collided near Phoenix. It was actually a single vehicle rollover involving three different air ambulances taking the injured to local hospitals.
Following the gaffe, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu issued a statement on the department’s website, “If there isn’t enough drama for the evening news, don’t worry ABC15 will make up more.”
Last month, KNXV ran a report about a man who they said had been banned from Walmart for ad matching, a practice where Walmart matches the lowest price found in advertised products. But, according to the Sheriff’s Department “A simply [sic] check with the Sheriff’s Office would have shown that the “ad match victim” portrayed by ABC15 News was in fact cited and released for one count of Disorderly Conduct and one count of Threatening and Intimidating.”
Tim Gaffney, public information officer for the Sheriff’s department told TVSpy his department has tried multiple times to address the issue with KNXV management and parent company Scripps. He said all attempts have been ignored.
Gaffney said the inaccurate reporting and lack of response from the station and its parent company have forced the department to attempt public shaming in order to bring about a change.
He also said when he called the station after this most recent incident an assignment editor at the station tried to pin the inaccurate report on an ambulance company and then hung up on him.
Gaffney told TVSpy, the ambulance company confirmed they were not the source of KNXV’s report. He added, “It’s hard to imagine they could get helicopter crash either from the radio traffic or anywhere else.”
Here’s the only evidence we could find of the original tweet:
@abc15: Southwest Ambulance officials say 2 helicopters collided in Pinal County. 3 people taken to hospital. ABC15 crews on the way Prayers
— TJC ICP327 (@ICP327) January 2, 2014
And KNXV’s correction:
Correction: Pinal County crash involves vehicles, not helicopters as originally reported.
— ABC15 Arizona (@abc15) January 2, 2014
Here’s what the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office posted:
KNXV said it wouldn’t comment on the story.