Purported TV-caption slipup pegs Zooey Deschanel as alleged Boston bomber

In what might be one of the more unfortunate closed-captioning snafus of recent years, a Twitter user posts a photo of what he says is a Fox affiliate mistakenly presenting the heart-object of certain nerds as suspect No. 2.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read
Here's how Deschanel reacted on Twitter. Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

In a week of more news than seemingly could be printed, the media garlanded itself in praise.

The outside world, however, was troubled by some of the media's rather impulsive excesses -- which were not entirely confined to the New York Post.

Amid the pressure to give the insatiable public what it wanted -- more insatiability -- mistakes were made.

Perhaps the most bizarre may have been perpetrated by someone (or some auto-correct machine) at a Fox affiliate, at least if a picture posted to Twitter is to be believed.

Closed captioning isn't an always easy business. Those of us with foreign-sounding (and looking) names understand the difficulties they present to others.

Many heads were scratched and eyes widened, though, when a picture circulated on Twitter showing what looked like a Fox breaking-news broadcast with a photo of bombing suspect No. 2 and a caption beneath reading: "...MARATHON BOMBING. HE IS 19-YEAR-OLD ZOOEY DESCHANEL."

It would take quite some earwax to imagine that "Zooey Deschanel" sounds like the real name of the alleged second Boston bomber, "Dzhokhar Tsarnaev."

It is also unclear which of the several Fox 4s in America might have perpetrated this. As far as I could find, there are two Fox4s in Texas, one in Missouri, one in Florida and one in Alaska. I've contacted these five 4s for comment. Fox 4 in Missouri has already denied involvement. I will update should I hear back from the others.

The image circulated, as so many things do, very quickly on the Web. So much so that Deschanel herself took to Twitter to retweet the image and comment: "Whoa! Epic closed captioning FAIL! @joelmchale: Oh my RT @peterogburn: pic.twitter.com/F3sbpmq9WO."

Naturally, this spurred her followers to share her surprise at, among other things, her being allowed to tweet while in custody.

The image appears to have been originally posted by twitterer Peter Ogburn, a producer at Washington's Bill Press Show.

I have contacted Ogburn in the hope that he might elaborate.

Updated 8:47a.m. PT: The Huffington Post identifies the Fox affiliate in Dallas Forth-Worth as the alleged offending party.