Fox News host Shepard Smith issued a startling on-air retraction on Monday, saying the channel had “screwed up” when a reporter said an hour earlier that he’d witnessed a black man being shot while running from Baltimore police.
“What’s happened is we screwed up what it sounds like,” Smith said. “I can tell you one thing, Mike Tobin would never — I’ve been through this. Mike Tobin thought he saw somebody get shot. And there was a gun. And there was a patient on a stretcher. And there was a woman who said she saw the cops gun him down and there’s gonna be violence and all the rest of that. And what we have is nothing.”
“Nobody has been shot,” Smith said. “No police officer pulled the trigger.”
Smith said the conditions were unusual and that the news crew had made an “honest” mistake.
The retraction came after Baltimore police flatly denied that a shooting had even taken place.
Fox News reporter Mike Tobin originally reported at 2:52 p.m. ET that about seven minutes earlier he saw a “young, black male” running from police when he was shot.
“Well, about 2:45 we saw a guy running from the cops here right at the intersection of North and Pennsylvania where the — you know which has been the epicenter of the unrest here — and as he was running away that officer drew his weapon and fired and struck the individual who was running away,” Tobin said.
Tobin reported seeing a revolver on the sidewalk and said the young man was in “bad shape” when he was taken to the hospital by emergency medical services.
In the retraction, Smith said police had taken the man to the hospital “out of an abundance of caution.”
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Ahiza Garcia is a newswriter based in New York City. Before joining TPM, Ahiza interned and freelanced for Nightline, Fox Sports, and ESPN the Magazine. She holds a B.A. in psychology from Columbia University and an M.S. in digital journalism from Syracuse University. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.