NBC’s Denver Affiliate 9News Apologizes on Air to Naked Capitalism

Thanks so much to the speedy action of the members of the commentariat yesterday. We got an apology from NBC 9 News in Denver for a skit they had put up meant to educate readers about the evils of “fake news”. However, they made Naked Capitalism into an object lesson:


I must give credit as well as thanks to the executives and staff of NBC affiliate 9News in Denver for acting so quickly to remedy the error. Host Kyle Clark removed the tweet promoting the segment. Readers who had contacted the station started receiving apologies from the executive producer at 12:30 PM in the form of:

Our December 13th story on fake news incorrectly associated nakedcapitalism.com with fake news websites. Nakedcapitalism.com provides “commentary on finance, economics, politics and power” and describes itself as a website that is “shedding light on the dark and seamy corners of finance.”

We regret the error.

And a 9News official posted this message in comments less than 7 hours after our post ran:

Jeremy Jojola (9NEWS NBC DENVER)
December 15, 2016 at 1:33 pm
Hello everyone, this is Jeremy Jojola with 9NEWS in Denver.

I’d like to apologize to nakedcapitalism.com and Yves Smith.

We screwed up.

In an effort to call attention to fake news, we incorrectly associated nakedcapitalism.com with a list of fake news links in our video.

This was wrong.

We have removed this reference from our video.

I have recorded a video response which will be broadcast on our station at 5 pm and 10 pm this evening and again at 6 pm tomorrow (Denver times).

See our response and my video statement here.

If you listen to the video, it is an unqualified apology and it appear they ran it as many times and at the same showtimes as when the offending clip ran.

This response is very professional and all too rare in business today. They moved so quickly it is clear they didn’t call lawyers to dither over how exposed they were and how much of a walkback they needed to do. Even though this was an embarrassment rather than a crisis, they followed the crisis management playbook as exemplified by Tylenol in its tampering scandal: do everything you can to make things right. And the reason that makes sense is that even if that costs your short term (‘fessing up), it preserves your reputation, which is one of your most valuable assets. Customers recognize that no one is perfect. Studies have shown that what they care about is not how many mistakes a company makes, but how it handles them when they occur.

Washington Post, are you taking notes?

Readers are still left with the question as to how this took place and the answer is that we will never know. Stations like 9News often rely on contractors, so this may have been a too-clever idea by someone with too much latitude that somehow fell through the vetting cracks.

While I am glad this episode was put to rest quickly, and am very grateful for the speedy intervention of many readers, this was a stomach-churning example of how the freedom of expression of independent media is under attack. Thanks so much for your support.

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  1. Altandmain


    I am glad that NBC Denver had the integrity to do this and to publicly admit their mistake.

    Yes, though, Yves is correct that this happens too infrequently. Most news networks do not have the honesty to do this.

    It will be interesting to see who apologizes and who treats the websites labelled with contempt. I think that just like watching who sided with Sanders and who sided with Clinton during the 2016 Democratic Primary, this will be an eye opener.

    1. sgt_doom

      But NBC, regardless of any apology, is still one of the primo Fake News sites in America (Fox, CNN, CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS, NPR, etc.).

  2. skippy

    Yves… a bit of providence by hamfisted eyeball shenanigans…

    Disheveled… with this event – hopefully – NC will gain readership… such is my fervent hope…

  3. timotheus

    The remaining question is how the producer of the thing came up with NC in the first place. Did they scroll through the notorious POS, er PON, list and choose the first one that popped up with an eye-catching name? Would this not be damning evidence of the damage done by The List, as argued in the lawyer letters?

    1. semiconscious

      i find it hard to believe that there’s any possible explanation other than this one. i’m also still amazed that no one affiliated with putting the story together took a minute to simply check out the site, which would’ve almost instantly indicated that something wasn’t quite right…

    2. cnchal

      The remaining question is how the producer of the thing came up with NC in the first place?

      Perhaps, although the possibility is close to zero, but still possible, someone on staff at the station is a secret admirer of nakedcapitalism and suspected correctly that by highlighting it, there would be a ferocious publicity generating backlash.

      1. Brian

        If anyone here has experience with network news, the producers are 20 something, have no background except “college” courses and no real world experience until they get hired. The idea that a producer could make a major decision without the instruction of the director of the station is not realistic.
        The apology is sincere it appears, but they are trying to cover their ass from a major lawsuit that will shut them down. WaPoo and NYDimes will try to fight, and we do hope the lawsuit cripples them into reverting to covering news instead of opinion. If they don’t recover, we, the people, have lost nothing.

    3. KFritz

      Two possibilities come quickly to mind–a wingnut or an establishmentarian involved in the production of the piece, with a mad on at Naked Cap and not bright or savvy enough to anticipate an appropriately ferocious response. There are certainly other possibilities.

  4. McKillop

    I’m pleased to see that there are people in the U.S.A. who honour their integrity and the integrity of others.
    I am also concerned that counterpunch, and others, have been victims
    of slander and possible censorship from a company and the people who run it that claim to be worthy of supporting freedom of speech, a right which made the U.S.A. and its citizens worthy of respect.
    We, all of us, have been harmed.

  5. amouise

    I too appreciate the apology and the quick walkback but… the site name wasn’t visually in the piece. No real explanation of who you are. Just 30 seconds of they were wrong.

    It’s a big something but I don’t think it undoes the damage from the original message their viewers received.

    Ask yourself this: if the same viewers saw the URL nakedcapitalism.com on the screen again, which video would their minds recall? The fake news piece or the apology?

  6. thoughtfulperson

    Here’s my two cents on why the Russia – “hack” – election fraud story is getting so much coverage.

    I don’t think there is much expectation that the electors will change their pledged votes. They are legally bound to vote as pledged.

    However, the charges are being used to:

    1.a. Explain Clinton’s loss was not due to anything she or her campaign did, but was due to Russian interference, and to the ‘fake news’ sites that reported and spread the Russian “hack” info.

    1b. As an aside, not as important as 2 and especially 3 below, this will weaken any claims of a ‘mandate’ Trump may attempt to make in the future, in attempting to get any legislation through Congress (let’s say Trump decides to do anything not liked much by those pushing this Russia – “hack” – election fraud story – like cutting funding for a large military program of some sort? Well, argument 1 is his support is based on fraud).

    2. If Clinton’s loss is due to Russia – “hack” – election fraud, and the fake news sites that promulgated said ‘dis-information’, then the current leadership of the Democratic Party, the DLC, the DNC, etc, should all remain in place. Established figured should be voted in to any open leadership roles, not anyone who was not a Clinton supporter!

    3. Given the disastrous results of the Russia – “hack” – election fraud – and “fake news”, we must redouble our efforts to black list “fake news” sites and even create software that automatically censors said black listed sites. Just like the way we treat viruses and sites known to spread viruses, right? It’s about recapturing a perceived threat to control of the discourse, which is a big part of how society is controlled by agencies such as the CIA – which helps explain why the Russia – “hack” – election fraud story is being promoted by that agency in particular, not the NSA (Who is supposed to be in charge of hacking) or the FBI etc.

    Well, FWIW…

    1. Sluggeaux

      My conclusion after reviewing the publicly available evidence is same, and that you are absolutely correct that all of this post-election barrage of “news” about “fake” news is nothing but blame-shifting. The New Democrats have never taken responsibility for any of their actions, nor are they willing to hold themselves or anyone other than the poor accountable for anything.

      This is at the root of why approximately 6 million 2008 Obama voters didn’t cast their ballot for either legacy-party candidate. Michael Moore pointed out on Morning Joe just after the election that HRC lost his home state of Michigan by a mere 11,000 votes — but that 90,000 Michiganders cast ballots where they voted ever issue and office except President of the United States. They weren’t “suppressed,” they were disgusted…

    2. sgt_doom

      Sounds right, to me — this is the norm: the two things the CIA excels at are embezzling and disinformation (having plowed through endless bullcrap most of which appears to have originated within the CIA or one of its subsidiaries (under their Mockingbird Program) while researching the JFK assassination over the many years, I hate to think of all the taxpayer funds which were directed at this, and today, with the “Russian hack” bullcrap — when it has become obvious that it was an insider whistleblower within the HRC campaign).


  7. Oaf

    If *real news* is lies, then, does that mean *fake news* is….????

    Sorry; maybe someone can finish this for me…my neuron is struggling.

  8. TiPs

    Maybe you were simply the victim of having a catchy name? What will viewers be more likely to remember, zerohedge or nakedcapitalism? Naked trumps Zero every time.

  9. Michael C

    I had sent them an email, and this is what I got in my email box this morning”


    Our December 13th story on fake news incorrectly associated nakedcapitalism.com with fake news websites. Nakedcapitalism.com provides “commentary on finance, economics, politics and power” and describes itself as a website that is “shedding light on the dark and seamy corners of finance.”
    We regret the error.

    News Director

  10. Biff Stoner

    As an FYI, this local affiliate is well known for not covering up mistakes. And they have received awards for their reasonably fair and even-handed coverage of local and national political issues. An interview from the same station with HRC went viral after asking fairly tough questions about the email scandal. Yep the producers and the talent that produced this segment should have done a better job vetting their list of fake sites, but based on what I know of these guys it was an honest mistake and they will work to not have it happen again.

  11. McWatt

    “When you stand up to bullies they back down”

    Often times they slink away, to hit you when your not looking, another day.

  12. craazyman

    Not bad for flyover people. Here in New Yawk we never believe anything anybody says about who they are unless we see it ourselves. If we do prop-o-porn it’s either because we’re being Machiavellian or because we’re just totally insane, blinded by the Light of Life into a nearly unredemptive state of delusion. But it’s not because we don’t know how to analyze things,.

    But still you wonder — why can’t they send the hottest female reporter they have in Denver to New Yawk to see what’s up here? Why make news up when you can investigate and come to a factual understanding? Then you can let the cameras roll with impunity.

    Do they have a scorching hot female reporter they can send here to check out not only NC, but even the peanut gallery? It’s not like were just a bunch of losers with nothing better to do than yack it up. Or are we? Is that all we are? That would be something a hot reporter could find out first hand.

    Send the hottest female reporter they have in Denver out here and we’ll make it very clear what’s fake and what’s true. If the WaPo does it, that’s fine too. Send them both! At the same time! haha

    I can’t get 99 Red Balloons out of my mind now. That was a perfect metaphor, whoever did that comment you’re a very accurate commenter. If you look on Youtube, you’ll see the Nena singer was still scorching hot in 2010! It is amazing.

    People shooting at red balloons and blowing up the world. Mind balloons floating across the noousphere are simply an logopoetic spectacle for contemplation. it’s all imagination and not reality but they shoot at them anyway. That’s what the founding fathers — for all their faults and immersion in the amplitudes of their time — that’s what they understood. That people will shoot first and then figure out what they killed only after the fact. Or maybe they won’t even figure it out. Actually, it would be optimistic to think they would.

  13. another

    One would think that such a serious publication as the Washington Post would be embarrassed to be seen behaving less professionally than a local news operation.
    Then one remembers that one lives in a culture in which “serious” has come to mean “willing to publish anything, no matter how ridiculous, in order to protect the privileges of the Ancien Régime”.

  14. RUKidding

    Good to know and good that the Denver tv station admitted the error publically and changed the stupid story. Agree that we’ll never get to the bottom of it, but it still rankles me that this odd story managed to highlight NC in it’s video. Why and how this site was chosen to be prominently displayed as fake news still bothers me.

    But time to move on and stay eternally vigilent for anything other slings and arrows. Weird world.

  15. Waldenpond

    It was a half apology. They apologized for mentioning one website, not for jumping on the ‘fake news’ myth bandwagon. Large media enterprises get away with this because they have power and money to fight a lawsuit. Nice strategy for smaller enterprises .. spread myths and then apologize (wink!) when caught. The underlying myth of ‘be afraid of independent outlets’ still stands…

    If they were doing an actual apology, they would disavow their current bs and do a section with a vast swath of examples of fake news by abc, cbs, nbc, fox, wapo, nyt etc and a list of where the indies in contrast were calling out the fake news.

  16. FortyYearsInThe UniversitySystem

    There’s no “honest mistake” when you join a witch hunt! They made the decision to join the Clintonite plotters (for indeed that’s what they are) to foist massive lies on the American and world peoples precisely in order to violate an election. They (fake) apologized to NC but what about all the other ones? In an actual democracy–rather than a police state–it is NOT legitimate to crap on the Constitution of the country in order to make points with a corrupt, defeated candidate and her crooked associates. I mark FAIL on these fascist-lite stooges. But I guess that’s just me.

  17. Fool

    When Netanyahu blamed the Mufti of Jerusalem for the Holocaust, he walked backed his ridiculous comment shortly after. Yet, I continue to hear that claim, which he started, from right-wingers…

    Nothing about this apology is sufficiently “professional” — not with respect to how egregious of a mistake this smear was. And their explanation makes no sense. Like, NC is well known enough to present to the audience, but not well known enough for a news producer not to know about it? Wouldn’t, uh, infowars be a better example?

    This PropOrNot / “Fake News” campaign is some dark arts stuff meant to confuse, distort, and ultimately silence. I don’t see how Leftists can win in the future if they so easily forgive their enemies.

  18. alopex

    Has anyone else looked at the December 13 video, from which the reference to NC was allegedly removed? I just viewed the fake news skit and saw the original reference. To verify, from the link 9news.com, type kyle december 13 in the search box, and look for the unchanged skit at approximately 20.55 into the newscast.

  19. Dave

    Don’t look (this) gift horse in the mouth.

    First public post ever…

    Having read that WP story with the “list” the night it came out, was disturbing. 50% of referenced sites were regular stops for POV checks. Somehow I had never been to NC before, not sure why. Now, happily becoming aware of the quality of your material and the caliber of commenting readers, this site is a daily must read.

    I suspect that NC’s readership can only continue to grow during these very strange times where balance is hard to find.

  20. Karl Kolchack

    The idiot contractor probably saw the name with the word “naked” in it and thought it was funny. I wish I was kidding.

  21. run75441

    ahhhhhh, they accused you???? Wow, what can I say Yves??? You must have got close to something or maybe they are to stupid to understand what reality is today.

  22. Paula

    Glad you’re fighting this.
    THEY have been after the internet for a long time. All the crap about shooters being “self-radicalized” over the internet, for instance. Like no one could find out we were bombing the crap out of their home country from hard copy.
    Now we got the Amazon guy starting the foreign propaganda thing, the “fake news” hysteria, and the FB guy censoring for fake news.
    In the meantime no one mentions US missiles on Russia’s border or US bombing Aleppo as the orphans are left behind by the buses provided by whom. I’ve been watching fairly closely for forty years and I can’t remember the spin making me this dizzy.

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