NEW YORK — CBS jumped the gun Friday on a possible U.S. attack on Iraq: The network inadvertently transmitted a practice news report via satellite that could be picked up by television stations and viewers with special equipment.
To try out new graphics for combat coverage in the event the U.S. goes forward with the threatened bombing of Iraq, CBS anchor Dan Rather was rehearsing with Pentagon correspondent David Martin over a closed line between CBS' New York headquarters and its Washington news bureau. The report was mistakenly sent up to a communications satellite.
"This was very embarrassing," one CBS staffer said Friday. "If I'd seen the report, I would have thought we were at war."
A technician at a West Virginia TV station who was checking satellite transmissions was shocked to see Rather describing aircraft being used in a bombing run on Baghdad.