The shot for Good Morning America looked great on camera: large open field, a chain link fence, and crime scene tape flapping in the breeze behind ABC News correspondent Linsey Davis. But what the audience didn’t know was that the yellow police tape wasn’t put up by officers but tied up to camera equipment by the crew just out of frame.
Davis was reporting on an important story out of South Carolina. A missing 30-year-old woman had finally been found chained up inside a metal container on a large piece of property after being held captive by a registered sex offender for months. But apparently, they needed a little something extra to ramp up the drama.
Davis and her team’s ruse was exposed by a photograph sent anonymously to CNN Money and reported by Dylan Byers. ABC News’s vice president of communications Julie Townsend isn’t happy:
"This action is completely unacceptable and fails to meet the standards of ABC News. As soon as it was brought to our attention, we decided to take the producer out of the field, and we're investigating further."
As Byers notes, this isn’t the first time ABC News has doctored a shot:
In April, ABC News producer David Fazekas created a fake reservation list for a segment about a restaurant in upstate New York that was thought to be among the most exclusive in the world.
Fazekas later told The New Yorker that the chef "wouldn't let us see his actual list, so I wrote it myself—like a reenactment in a documentary."
"There are services on the Internet that generate fake names," Fazekas said.
Is it any wonder there is so much distrust of the mainstream media?