TV station refers to Republicans as "Reprehensive Party of Florida"

TV station refers to Republicans as "Reprehensive Party of Florida" (Courtesy / January 31, 2014)

Original post | 1:55 p.m.

Updated | 2:40 p.m.and 4:47 p.m.

Full update below, but responsible parties are apologizing and an employee has been fired.

Florida’s Republican Party is fuming. The subject of the Republicans’ ire is WTVJ-Ch. 6, the NBC affiliate in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale market.


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The station had a news item about sparring between Republican Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Charlie Crist, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for his old job.

As part of the report, the TV station showed part of a Republican Party of Florida web video attacking Crist. To identify the source of the video, WTVJ added some type at the top of the screen.

It identified the source as “Reprehensive Party of Florida.” The offending words were on screen for 12 seconds of the two-minute news segment.

State Party Chairman Lenny Curry expressed outrage in a letter to station executives on Friday.

He demanded “immediate action.”

“This blatant disregard for journalist ethics and impartiality is a complete abdication of your station's professional duty to truth at best and slander at worst. We are currently reviewing our legal options against your station, but at minimum we demand an on-air apology for violating journalist ethics and public discipline for any employees responsible for the creation of this graphic,” Curry wrote.

The Florida kerfuffle erupted in the same week that the head of the MSNBC cable channel apologized to Republicans for tweet from the channel that said “the rightwing” might disapprove of an ad for Cheerios that featured a biracial family.

Updates:

Shawn Feddeman, a spokeswoman for NBC in New York returned calls to WTVJ's general manager. The station is owned by NBC.

Here's the statement on behalf of WTVJ: “We apologize to the Republican Party of Florida and to our viewers for our airing of a wrong graphic in a news story in last night’s  6 p.m. newscast. The story came to us from a news service we use out of Tallahassee that we have relied on for years with no issues. We do, however, know it was our responsibility to catch the graphic and we regret that we did not prevent it from airing.  We are addressing this with our employees to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again. Once again, we sincerely regret this incident.”

WTVJ plans apologies in its Friday night newscasts.

The report came from Capitol News Service in Tallahassee.

Here's a statment from its owner, Mike Vasilinda: "Capitol News Service takes full responsibility for an error that resulted in one of our clients, WTVJ incorrectly labeling on screen material.

"In a report in which we played a web ad by the Republican Party of Florida, our employees indicated it should have the on screen chyron 'Reprehensive Party of Florida.' We deeply regret this incident. The people who made the error and reviewed it without catching it are no longer in our employ."

Vasilinda said one person was fired and another person was already leaving the news service.