While carrying an Arizona station's feed of a high-speed chase this afternoon, Fox News showed a man apparently committing suicide.
Fox News anchor Shepard Smith, who'd been doing commentary during the aftermath of the chase (in the clip posted on YouTube, apologized almost immediately, according to ABC News, which reports that the chase, along the I-10 outside Phoenix, had begun with a carjacking.
"We really messed up and we're all very sorry," he said, according to ABC. "That didn't belong on TV... I personally apologize to you that it happened."
"It's insensitive and it's wrong," he said of airing the shooting.
In the clip I saw (I wasn't watching at the time and so far I've not seen enough of the "chase" to gauge the context), a man is running down a hill. "It looks like he's a little disoriented or something," Smith remarked, as the subject began running erratically. "It's always possible the guy could be on something."
As he spoke, the man could be seen pulling something out of his pocket and then placing it against his head. Then, as the man slumped, the camera cut away and Smith appeared back in the studio, watching the feed and shouting, "Get off, get off, get off...Get off it!" as if unaware that the feed was no longer onscreen.
In the clip posted on YouTube, Fox News then cut to commercial. ABC News quoted Smith as saying there'd been a five-second delay on the feed, but it wasn't cut off in time.
Honestly, I'd understand how someone, watching this, might have taken a few seconds to react.
The real question, though, should be this: What's the most-watched cable news operation doing running high-speed chases with no apparent national implications, anyway?