Medical Center Admits Planting Staff in CBS News Report on COVID-19 Testing

CBS News was accused Thursday of staging a report on the coronavirus response in Michigan

The medical center in the middle of an accusation that CBS News staged the visuals for a report on the coronavirus has taken responsibility, according to local Michigan station Wood TV.

In a Thursday evening statement given to Wood TV, Cherry Health CEO Tasha Blackmon acknowledged mistakes were made when CBS News filmed a line of cars waiting for coronavirus testing at the center in Grand Rapids.

She said, “After conducting an internal investigation, we learned that a few staff were encouraged to pull their cars up in the testing line to provide a visual backdrop showing how busy the testing site can get. This was done with the intention of protecting patient privacy since many of the patients scheduled for a COVID-19 test on that day declined to be filmed for HIPAA reasons. The individual responsible for this mistake has accepted responsibility and expressed deep remorse for this unfortunate situation.”

That is in line with the statement given by CBS News to Project Veritas, the right-wing activist group that initially made the accusation.

Thursday, after Project Veritas cited a center insider who said CBS News “absolutely” used Cherry Health staff to make the line appear longer, the news organization provided a statement denying blame.

“CBS News did not stage anything at the Cherry Health facility. Any suggestion to the contrary is 100% false. These allegations are alarming. We reached out to Cherry Health to address them immediately. They 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. No one from CBS News had any knowledge of this before tonight. They also said that their actions did not prevent any actual patients from being tested. We take the accuracy of our reporting very seriously and we are removing the Cherry Health portion from the piece,” read the full statement, which a CBS News representative confirmed to TheWrap, as well.