CBS News has issued an apology after confusing late Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings with Georgia Congressman John Lewis.
The mishap occurred Dec. 30 when the network included a photo of Cummings alongside a quote from Lewis during a broadcast about the latter’s recent diagnosis with stage four pancreatic cancer, reported the New York Post.
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“While I am clear-eyed about the prognosis… I have a fighting chance,” Lewis’ quote said. Immediately viewers chimed in expressing their dismay at the error.
“Can’t believe CBS News is showing a picture of the late U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings w/ Congressman John Lewis’ name as they talk about Rep. Lewis’ recent announcement. Get it right!” tweeted Stephon Ferguson, along with a photo of the mishap and a tag to the network.
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“Hey .@CBSNews – maybe get a person of color on your staff that can properly fact check between a living civil rights icon and a former titan of Congress who’s passed away. I swear!!!!!” another user with the handle @KimberDJ wrote.
After the swift backlash, CBS Evening News posted two apologies to their Twitter account. The first read: “On Monday, during the East Coast airing of our story about Rep. John Lewis being diagnosed with cancer, a photograph of late Rep. Elijah Cummings was inadvertently labeled as Congressman Lewis due to a production error. We deeply regret the mistake and sincerely apologize.”
The second reiterated their regret about the mistake. “Tonight on the 6:30 p.m. ET broadcast of the CBS Evening News, one photograph was misidentified as Congressman John Lewis. We have replaced the photo in all broadcasts and platforms. We deeply regret the error,” the network tweeted.
This is not the first time a broadcast news station has confused the two civil rights icons. Fox also misidentified Lewis as Cummings this summer, according to the Washington Examiner.
Freshman U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib said the two lawmakers were mistaken for each other “all the time.”
“I’ve seen it even on the House floor. People calling Elijah Cummings ‘John Lewis,’ and John Lewis ‘Elijah Cummings,’ and they’re totally different people,” Tlaib said when she caused a stir last year for saying Black people should only be employed to identify other Black people when law enforcement uses facial recognition technology.
For some, the apology was not enough.