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WBAL gets it wrong straight out of the gate on Freddie Gray trial

Officer William Porter, right, arrives Monday at the courthouse with his attorney, Joseph Murtha, at the start of the first day of the first trial of a Baltimore police officer in Freddie Gray's death.
Officer William Porter, right, arrives Monday at the courthouse with his attorney, Joseph Murtha, at the start of the first day of the first trial of a Baltimore police officer in Freddie Gray's death. (Kenneth K. Lam / Baltimore Sun)

That didn't take long, did it?

WBAL-TV made the first mistake in covering the trial of Baltimore City Police Officer William G. Porter today before jury selection in the trial even began.

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During a segment at 7:55 on the station's morning news, viewers saw video of a prisoner being brought to the courthouse. The station identified the man as Porter.

But it wasn't Porter. He and his five fellow defendants in the case have been free on bail since May. He would not have been arriving as a prisoner.

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WBAL corrected the mistake at 8:25 a.m., saying the person previously identified as Porter was not, in fact, Porter.

"We caught the error from a 7:55 cut-in and acknowledged it on-air at 8:25 in the morning," Dan Joerres, WBAL's general manager, told The Sun.

In Sunday's Sun, I wrote about the need for all media to raise their games in covering a trial with such huge stakes for Baltimore and the country. (You can read that here.)

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