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Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Accuses WSMV of ‘Irresponsible and Unprofessional Journalism’

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is criticizing Nashville NBC affiliate WSMV for “irresponsible and unprofessional journalism,” saying its reporting on the disappearance of Holly Bobo has been “harmful to the case.”

The station has aired a series of reports on Bobo, a nursing student who went missing two years ago. Reports have included information from nonprofit organization “Without Warning.” In a statement released Friday, The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation says the group “did not investigate the case … to law enforcement standards.” TBI also accuses the group of regurgitating “information they had heard and read in order to talk about the case on television.”

The statement takes issue with several reports on Bobo’s disappearance by Dennis Ferrier, as well as a special documentary that aired on WSMV May 12:

“The erroneous television reports have led to false leads, public concern and have wasted valuable state resources,” said TBI Director Mark Gwyn. “The most important thing, after finding Holly Bobo and the person responsible for her disappearance, is maintaining the integrity of this investigation should it ever go to trial. In addition, TBI is concerned that WSMV never confirmed any facts reported in the stories with our agency. Never have we seen such irresponsible and unprofessional journalism on an active and open TBI investigation that has been so harmful to the case.”

On Friday evening, WSMV posted a response to TBI’s statement:

Although the stories have been airing for several weeks, at no point did law enforcement contact WSMV to dispute any of the findings, until this week. Further, WSMV tried unsuccessfully to engage The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation in discussions on the detective group findings, but TBI was unwilling to comment for the record until today’s strongly-worded news release.

WSMV news director Matthew Hilk declined to comment, referring TVSpy to the station’s official statement.

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