A Chicago television station is being criticized for editing the statements of a Black four year-old boy on a video segment to make him appear violent.
According to the Huffington Post, on June 30 CBS affiliate WBBM-TV aired a news video segment describing the recent shooting death of a local teen and two other acts of violence in the city.
The video then cut to local reaction to the crimes, including a four year-old boy’s statements.
After a reporter asked him, “What are you going to do when you get older?” The boy responded, “I’m going to have a gun!”
But it was later revealed that a portion of the boy’s comments were edited out of the video and the four year-old actually explained that he was going to have a gun because he wants to be a police officer.
After it was found that the boy’s comments were taken out of context, WBBM communications director Shawnelle Richie issued a statement to news blog TVSpy.
“We accept responsibility for the mistakes that were made, both in the reporting and editing of the story,” the statement read. “The video of the child should not have aired. As soon as news management identified the problem, they took the immediate steps to ensure that the video would not air in subsequent newscasts. In addition, we have followed up with our employees to make sure that we all have learned from the mistakes that were made.”
The issue sparked numerous concerns and many questioned the station’s journalistic standards.
NAACP President Benjamin Jealous viewed the incident as “disturbing.”
“As somebody who’s a former journalist, like many past presidents of the NAACP, it’s important to tell the whole truth, because when you tell a half-truth you’re, in effect, lying,” Jealous told the Maynard Institute.
Writer and social commentator Dr. Boyce Watkins also voiced his disdain of the matter on his blog.
“This little boy has a bright future ahead of him full of infinite possibility,” Watkins wrote. “But already, his vast potential is being threatened by the social cage being built around him by those whose minds remain enslaved by racism. That is one of the great tragedies of America and if all of us don’t take time to consciously reflect on the magnitude of this issue, we will continue to destroy the futures of our children.”