CBS has denied claims that it “staged” a long line at a Covid-19 test center in Michigan and blamed the facility for adding “at least one” person to the line itself. The network was accused of faking the moment by Project Veritas.
CBS News President Susan Zirinsky said in a statement that the news crew “did not stage anything” at the Cherry Medical Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan and “any suggestion to the contrary is 100% false.”
Project Veritas’s James O’Keefe claimed on Wednesday that CBS News This Morning asked medical personnel at the center to line up in their cars to make the testing line outside appear longer.
In a video posted to PV’s social media, an “insider” at the medical center confirmed “a hundred percent, absolutely” that the network staged the line for the Friday May 1 report. A corporate cleaning site supervisor also said that the crew “wanted more people in the line because they knew it was scheduled.”
A nurse at the center, recorded on hidden camera, said that staff had “no clue that we were going to have to, like, do fake patients.” Another nurse, also recorded on hidden camera, said there were a couple of real patients in the line, too, “which made it worse.”
“The insider told us that medical personnel were taken away from treating patients and making the line longer for actual patients waiting for the COVID-19 test,” O’Keefe claimed.
CBS said it reached out to the facility when it was made aware of the allegations and were told that in fact a chief officer made the decision to add to the real line.
“[The center] informed us for the first time that one of their chief officers told at least one staffer to get in the testing line along with real patients,” the network said, adding that “no one from CBS News had any knowledge of this before tonight.”
“We take the accuracy of our reporting very seriously and we are removing the Cherry Health portion from the piece,” the network added. Cherry Health President and CEO Tasha Blackmon told Project Veritas that “we and CBS News had nothing to do with that line.”
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