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Here’s How Fox News Accidentally Killed Off Ruth Bader Ginsburg With an Ill-Fated Graphic

The hosts of Fox & Friends quickly apologized for an errant graphics package that appeared on Monday morning’s program which prematurely memorialized the life (and death) of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

“We don’t want to make it seem anything other than that was a mistake. It was an accident,” Steve Doocy said. Ainsley Earhardt followed with “We apologize, big mistake.”

Mistakes made on live television have existed since broadcast technology was invented, but the digital age has not been terribly kind to television broadcasters as these sorts of gaffes are immediately captured and memorialized by websites like ours. Such is the case with this example, which has led to the inevitable question of how does a mistake of this magnitude even get made in the first place?

First of all, nearly every newsroom in America likely has an obituary pre-written for Justice Ginsburg, who is recovering from a recent battle with cancer and, as has been reported, a case of pneumonia. There are many reports that she is expected to make a full recovery, but like every other person who has come before her, she will eventually pass away. Just like you and I. So Fox News had prepped an obituary package, including motion graphics, in advance of her eventual death.

So how did this package make air?  Someone familiar with the details of the mistake tells Mediaite “The graphics team incorrectly assigned the obit to a Nexio number that was designated for an existing Fox & Friends animation Trouble with Schools.” Nexio is a digital communications and technology platform that many television control rooms use to manage visual assets and graphics packages.

Mediaite’s source tells us “The Technical Director dialed up that existing number expecting it to be the Fox & Friends animation and when he triggered it, the wrong animation ran on air.”

So there you have it. This mistake was not the result of Fox & Friends opinion programming, nor was it some sort of wishful thinking as some on social media have unfairly claimed. It was a technical gaffe that landed on Fox News morning show, who handled the mistake as quickly and gracefully as one could expect.

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