In the midst of one of the worst hurricanes in Texas history, many people fell for hoaxes and fake news stories. Former CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric was among them.
The former newscaster shared an image of an alligator laying in the street with her 1.8 million Twitter followers, which she said was from her friend's Houston neighborhood. "Look who wandered into my friend's Houston ‘hood Thinking about everyone affected by Harvey and 🙏🏻 they r safe," she tweeted.
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It turns out, however, the picture is actually from a neighborhood in Fort Bend County, Texas, earlier this year. In April, the Houston Chronicle reported, a male alligator wandered into a neighborhood during a smaller storm. He laid in the street long enough for Chief Deputy Major Chad Norvell to snap a picture of him before it moved on to a porch. Norvell then assisted a game warden in capturing and releasing the alligator back into a local pond.
"They're moving around looking for a mate," Norvell told the Chronicle. "It's mating season now."
As her later tweets show, and the Washington Post explains, Couric fell for the old picture in much the same way many other people have fallen for fake news during the storm. Couric said a friend shared the picture with her claiming it was from her neighborhood. When people began calling Couric on the fact that the picture was not from Hurricane Harvey, she was unable to get back in contact with her friend.
— Katie Couric (@katiecouric) August 27, 2017
Couric's credibility came under scrutiny in 2016 after she and the group behind her 2016 film Under the Gun were caught deceptively editing an interview she conducted with gun rights activists. Accusations of other deceptive edits included in Couric's 2014 Fed Up surfaced shortly after. Couric was later sued for $12 million by the gun rights activists featured in Under the Gun and while the case was dismissed in June 2016 the plaintiffs have announced they plan to appeal the decision.
In recent months, Couric has publicly decried the rise of fake news and pondered the lack of trust in media. Yahoo News, where Couric spent the last four years as the company's global news anchor, recently cut ties with her. Couric will reportedly work with the news organization on a project by project basis and has continued to make guest appearances on major network news outlets such as NBC News despite criticism of her past work.