People watching MSNBC Wednesday morning could be forgiven for believing that the Taliban had invaded Bangkok. As NBC’s Ian Williams reported on violent protests in the capital city of Thailand, a graphic on the lower third of MSNBC’s screen read: “NEW TALIBAN ATTACKS, BANGKOK BURNS.”
In truth, fires in the Thai capitol were not caused by the Taliban. Bangkok “burned” Wednesday because of rioting by anti-government protesters, according to The Associated Press.
Downtown Bangkok became a flaming battleground Wednesday as an army assault forced anti-government protest leaders to surrender, enraging followers who shot grenades and set fire to landmark buildings, cloaking the skyline in black smoke.
Using live ammunition, troops dispersed thousands of Red Shirt protesters who had been camped in the capital’s premier shopping and residential district for weeks. Five protesters and an Italian news photographer were killed in the ensuing gunbattles and about 60 wounded.
After Red Shirt leaders gave themselves up to police, rioters set fires at the Stock Exchange, several banks, the headquarters of the Metropolitan Electricity Authority, the Central World, one of Asia’s biggest shopping malls, and cinema that burned to ground. There were reports of looting.
Firefighters retreated after protesters shot guns at them, and thick smoke drifted across the sky of this city of 10 million people.
Following MSNBC’s report on Bangkok, the NBC’s Tom Aspell began a separate report on a Taliban attack in Afghanistan. The confusing chyron was replaced with “INSURGENTS ATTACK BAGRAM AIR BASE.”
Taliban had attacked the second biggest US base in Afghanistan Tuesday, The Los Angeles Times reported.
Insurgents early Wednesday launched a bold attack on the largest U.S. installation in Afghanistan, leaving at least seven of the attackers dead.
The fighting at the sprawling, heavily fortified Bagram air base, about 30 miles north of Kabul, began at dawn when Taliban fighters attacked with rockets, guns and grenades, the military said.
NATO’s International Security Assistance Force said in a statement that five Western service members had been wounded, but did not characterize the seriousness of their injuries. Most of the troops at Bagram are Americans.
Of course, all news organizations make mistakes. RAW STORY had to apologize Monday after a headline had incorrectly labeled a Democrat under fire as a Republican.
Fox News has often been called out for doing the exact opposite on a number of occasions, and for other mistakes which often seem to benefit the GOP.
This time, however, only the Taliban could potentially benefit from such an error.
This video is from MSNBC’s News Live, broadcast May 19, 2010.