CBS Apologizes for Using Cummings Photo in John Lewis Story

bradwilmouth | January 1, 2020
Font Size

Cross posted to the MRC's NewsBusters blog

On Monday's CBS Evening News, as the show ran a full report on the sad news that Georgia Democratic Congressman John Lewis has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in its late stages, the show made the embarrassing faux pas of including a photograph of former Maryland Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings and mis-labeling it as Congressman Lewis.

After fill-in host Major Garrett set up the report, correspondent Mark Strassmann began:

MARK STRASSMANN: Congressman John Lewis has fought unfairness all his life.

CONGRESSMAN JOHN LEWIS (D-GA): We are one family, We all live in the same house -- the American house.

STRASSMANN: This 79-year-old Civil Rights legend announced his latest battle over the weekend.

Then came the image of Congressman Cummings as Strassmann added: "Doctors discovered stage 4 pancreatic cancer." Strassmann then read a statement by Congressman Lewis: "While I'm clear-eyed about the prognosis, I have a fighting chance." The image remained on screen for about seven seconds.

On Tuesday's New Year's Eve episode, Garrett devoted a 20-second brief to apologizing for the mistake:

MAJOR GARRETT: Now, to an apology. Monday, during the East Coast airing of our story about Congressman John Lewis being diagnosed with cancer, a photograph with the late Congressman Elijah Cummings was inadvertently labeled as Congressman Lewis, this due to a production error. We deeply regret the mistake and sincerely apologize.