Yes, different channels have mistakenly broadcast images of a hospital out of context

A hospital in Bologna (Italy) confronted with Covid-19 (illustration). – Gianni Schicchi / IPA / SIPA

  • What better way, to make people believe in a crisis situation in hospitals, than to use images taken from another country?
  • This is, in essence, what denounces a viral photo montage on social networks, claiming that two English-speaking media have used images filmed in Italy to illustrate the situation of New York and Australian hospitals in the face of the coronavirus epidemic.
  • The two channels concerned had indeed used these images out of context without specifying it, but each mentioned an error.

What if hospitals around the world exaggerated the scale of the number of patients hospitalized due to Covid-19 thanks to the help of the media using the same anxiety-provoking images, even if it means taking them out of context?

This is in any case the conviction shared by many Internet users from different countries at the sight of a photo montage relayed on social networks. This shows three screenshots from the same sequence in which a doctor (or a nurse) walks through a hospital room with beds full of patients. Each is attributed to a different source: “CBS on New York on March 25,” “Sky News in a report on Italy on March 22,” “7News Melbourne on hospitals [de l’Etat de Victoria] July 18 ”.

“Look at the deception again these 3 photos of the United States, Italy and Australia are exactly the same?” », Denounces one of the French versions of this assembly.


This sequence was broadcast in a morning program of the American channel CBS on March 25: it can be found from 1’23 in the report below, devoted to the hospital crisis situation that New York was going through in March 2020.

If most of the report used, by way of illustration, images of New York hospitals, a brief sequence was indeed filmed in an Italian hospital: the Sky News channel had broadcast it in
a report with an evocative title (“The most affected city in Italy intends to show you how the Covid-19 affects its hospitals”) filmed in Bergamo, Lombardy. We find it from 2’27 in this video.

The surprising mix of images operated by CBS News did not fail to be reported on Twitter to the channel, which was quick to plead from Fox News an “editing error” while explaining having “acted immediately to remove this footage from all platforms and shows”.

For its part, the Australian channel 7News Melbourne did broadcast the same brief extract last July in a report devoted to hospitals in the State of Victoria. Again, a media spokesperson lamented “An unfortunate error in the editing phase during a frenetic news day” while stressing that the disputed passage had “been deleted online as soon as an alert was given on this error”.

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