ABC News apologizes to Crenshaw Christian Center founder for misleading video


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Four years after airing a misleading video segment about Crenshaw Christian Center founder Dr. Frederick K.C. Price, ABC News has issued a public apology.

In a story called ‘Enough!’ that aired on ABC’s ‘20/20’ and ‘Good Morning America’ in March 2007, ABC News and then-correspondent John Stossel investigated whether ministers of several large congregations had used donations to support lavish lifestyles. The segment featured a 10-second video clip taken from a previously televised sermon that showed 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 reality, Price did not own any of those things: He was preaching about a hypothetical person who was rich but spiritually unsatisfied. ‘Friends, to me that’s bad success,’ Price added during the sermon, though that part was cut from the ABC News segment.

Newsmagazines have faced battles over how their subjects are portrayed before: NBC’s ‘Dateline’ issued an on-air apology for staging a car-truck crash, and ABC News and ‘20/20’ went to court over accusations that the network committed fraud in a hidden-camera expose alleging unsanitary conditions at Food Lion’s supermarkets.

‘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 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.’

‘We had faith that this matter was in God’s hands,’ Price replied in a statement. ‘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.’

[Updated at 2:08 PM: A source familiar with the situation says that ABC News made a similar apology on the air in 2007, but issuing a written apology was required as part of a recent legal settlement between ABC News and Price.]

-- Melissa Maerz