A carjacking suspect being chased by police in Phoenix suddenly got out of the car and shot himself on live television, prompting Fox News's Shepard Smith to apologize after the network aired the footage. We tuned in in time to hear Smith's apology: "I personally apologize for letting that happen," Smith said. "That was wrong, that wouldn’t happen again on my watch, and I’m sorry." According to Reuters' Matthew Keys, Fox had the chase on a delay, but didn't have the delay working when the suicide happened (Update: Smith's full apology and explanation is below). Local Arizona news station KTAR has an early report on what happened:
The suspect, wearing a black football jersey and black pants, exited the car in a field. He was carrying a gun. The suspect ran a short distance away and appeared to shoot himself in the head.
We're not going to link to video of the suicide, but here's Smith's apology:
Update: Now, when covering the fact that Fox News showed this questionable footage, the question becomes whether it's appropriate to share that footage. Buzzfeed shared the video on its Twitter stream, but the video doesn't appear to be on the main site. Mediaite posted the video to its site with a warning: "The below video is extremely graphic. Viewer discretion strongly advised." But the Columbia Journalism Review took Buzzfeed to task for re-posting the footage, which was the thing Fox News was apologizing for in the first place:
The problem with covering suicides is that it can be exploitative and it can encourage others to follow suit. The federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration issued guidelines for covering suicides (PDF), urging journalists to stay away from sensationalism and to avoid publishing photos of victims' grieving relatives, the scene of the incident, and the method of death. The Radio Television Digital News Association also lists guidelines, advising producers to "Consider not using the photo of the person who killed him/herself. It will make the suicide less glamorous to someone considering imitating the act."