Tonight, when Fox 45 "apologized" for a segment showing an edited video of protesters chanting, viewers must have had a hard time figuring out what they were apologizing for. The network aired the entire video, which showed Tawanda Jones, the sister of Tyrone West (who died in police custody), and Joseph Kent chanting, "We won't stop/ We can't stop/ Till killer cops/ Are in cell blocks" and then apologized for it, without ever saying that, last night, they aired an edited clip, which cut off the second half of the chant so that it appeared they were chanting "We won't stop/ We can't stop/ So kill a cop," an impression the reporter created by also saying that they were chanting about killing cops, just before tying it to the shooting of police officers in New York. The network tonight acted as if inviting Jones on to speak about police brutality and to clarify her position somehow explained or made up for the fact that they aired doctored material which entirely distorted the truth.
Last night's segment was reported by Fox 45's Melinda Roeder, an award-winning journalist who covers everything from floods to politics. But last night's misstep is not the first time she made waves with a controversial—or apparently bogus—story centered on the actions of members of a protest movement. On Oct. 31, 2011, Fox 45 aired Roeder's interview with a woman who claimed she had been raped in a tent on McKeldin Square during the Occupy Wall Street protest. Brietbart, the right-wing site, re-aired the segment. "You can go to Mercy Hospital," the woman, who was not identified, says on camera. "They have the full rape kit."
The story went on to show "evidence of drug use and paraphernalia in an occupy tent." On camera, Roeder said she reported drug use and assault to police nearby.
Roeder's story spread nationally as police and other reporters struggled to make sense of the allegations. The next day Baltimore police said the rape allegation was "unfounded," and that the "victim at no time reported a sexual assault to police, detectives offered the victim a precautionary SAFE Exam at Mercy Hospital and reached out to the advocacy community to provide her with support. Detectives continue to investigate the alleged assault and larceny and are working with the advocacy community to provide outreach and support to the victim," according to a Nov. 1, 2011 post on The Sun's blog.
Other reporting by The Sun on that day left it unclear as to whether more than one sexual assault allegation had occurred.
The IndyReader aired its own footage of the Fox news team's confrontation with members of the group, which tried to get outside media—and police—to take action against what they called a media "assault."
Fox never retracted the Occupy rape story. Roeder declined to talk to City Paper about the “killer cops” gaffe, referring City Paper to the news director, Mike Tomko.