LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Four years after ABC News and its then-correspondent John Stossel aired a misleading video segment about Crenshaw Christian Center founder Dr. Frederick K.C. Price, the network has admitted publicly that it misled its audience and failed to live up to its own standards.
“ABC has gone to unprecedented lengths to apologize to Dr. Price and set the record straight”
ABC News issued its public apology to Dr. Price for its use of an out-of-context video segment in a story headlined “Enough!” that aired on ABC’s 20/20 and Good Morning America programs in March 2007.
The ABC story questioned whether ministers of several large congregations had used donations to support lavish lifestyles. It included a 10-second video clip taken from a previously televised sermon that showed Dr. Price saying: “I live in a 25 room mansion, I have my own $6 million yacht, I have my own private jet and I have my own helicopter and I have seven luxury automobiles.”
In fact, Dr. Price did not own a helicopter, a jet, a $6 million yacht, a 25-room mansion or seven luxury cars, and he was not speaking of himself. He was preaching a sermon about a hypothetical person who had great wealth but lived a spiritually unfulfilled life.
“ABC News apologizes for any harm caused to you as a result of its broadcast of a video clip that ABC News stated was of you speaking about yourself when in fact you were talking about a hypothetical person,” Kerry Smith of ABC News said in her statement to Dr. Price. “ABC News regrets that it did not conduct sufficient investigation of the clip after receiving it to establish its correct context. By presenting the footage out of context, ABC News misled its audience and failed to meet its own standards, which ABC deeply regrets.”
Dr. Price said he is gratified by the public apology.
“We had faith that this matter was in God’s hands,” said Dr. Price. “And once again God has shown us that when we trust in Him and act in good conscience we are led to the truth, and to a place of abundant joy.”
Dr. Price’s attorney, Anthony M. Glassman of Glassman, Browning, Saltsman & Jacobs, said ABC’s statement was a significant admission for the venerable news organization, a division of the American Broadcasting Company, which is a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS).
“ABC has gone to unprecedented lengths to apologize to Dr. Price and set the record straight,” Mr. Glassman said. “Dr. Price and his family are pleased that ABC has acknowledged its error, and its failure to sufficiently investigate the video. I am sure that the members of his congregation, who were greatly upset by the ABC story, will be pleased as well. ”
Had ABC News broadcast the full context of Dr. Price’s remarks, its audience would have heard and seen the pastor saying: “Well I was pointing out that there is such a thing as bad success.” Then, speaking the words that ABC used in its report, he described a hypothetical person’s wealth. But in the next sentence, which ABC did not air, he added that the hypothetical man’s wife was unfaithful, his children were on drugs and his friends only liked him for his money. “Friends, to me that’s bad success,” Dr. Price told the congregation.
A video of Dr. Price’s entire 53-minute sermon, which was originally televised in 1997 on the Lifetime Network, can be viewed by clicking here. The relevant part of the sermon begins at 13 minutes and 20 seconds.
“Watching the ABC story was really devastating to our family and our church,” said Angela Evans, President of Crenshaw Christian Center and Dr. Price’s daughter. “We couldn’t believe that such a highly respected company as ABC News would do such a thing. It was a long time coming, but we are happy and grateful that ABC has finally acknowledged that it misled its audience and that it failed to meet its own standards.”
“This is a blessing!” she said.
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