Fact Check: CBS DID Air Video From Italian Hospital During Coronavirus Outbreak, Claiming It Was Of Overwhelmed NYC Hospital

Fact Check

  • by: Alexis Tereszcuk
Fact Check: CBS DID Air Video From Italian Hospital During Coronavirus Outbreak, Claiming It Was Of Overwhelmed NYC Hospital Wrong Video

Did CBS News use video from a hospital in Italy during the coronavirus outbreak, claiming it was footage from New York City? Yes, that's true: Claiming to show footage of an overwhelmed hospital in New York, CBS This Morning aired footage that was actually from a hospital in Italy.

The news organization claimed it was an "editing mistake" and said it had immediately removed the video from all of its platforms.

But not before the mistake went viral. The error appeared as a post (archived here) by Austin Bennett on Facebook on March 30, 2020, under the title "This Is Why You Stop Trusting The News." It opened:

This is why you stop trusting the news.
One hospital video used for two different hospitals in two different countries.
Literally the same video lol

Social media users saw this:

The photo on Facebook had a splitscreen, with the CBS footage about a hospital in Italy shown previously on ABC News.

Instead of taking CBS News' word that it was a mistake, Facebook users blamed the media company for trying to "cause a panic" amid the coronavirus outbreak. One commenter wrote:

They want to cause a panic so the house can try to pass their public protections bill that violates our constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

Online commenters quickly pointed out the duplicated footage, noting it was not from a New York City hospital but from Italy. Among other things, they noted the trash can on the right of the screen was the same in both videos, and the computer on the right was the same.

Twitter user ALX also called out CBS for using of the video.

Sky News first aired the story on March 22, 2020, taken by the news channel's correspondent. In its report, Sky News noted the video was filmed in "the main hospital in Bergamo, the hardest-hit hospital in Italy in the hardest-hit town in the hardest-hit province, Lombardy - and it's just plain scary."

"Bergamo is at the epicentre of the epidemic," the report stated, with a photograph that was used by both CBS This Morning and CBS News.

As for CBS News airing incorrectly on the morning broadcast, the news organization stated that the wrong footage was used because of an editing goof. But not before criticism of their error went viral.

A CBS News spokesperson told Fox News:

It was an editing mistake. We took immediate steps to remove it from all platforms and shows."

Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.

  Alexis Tereszcuk

Alexis Tereszcuk is a writer and fact checker at Lead Stories and an award-winning journalist who spent over a decade breaking hard news and celebrity scoop with RadarOnline and Us Weekly.

As the Entertainment Editor, she investigated Hollywood stories and conducted interviews with A-list celebrities and reality stars.  

Alexis’ crime reporting earned her spots as a contributor on the Nancy Grace show, CNN, Fox News and Entertainment Tonight, among others.

Read more about or contact Alexis Tereszcuk

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