MSNBC apologizes for showing wrong video of congressman

During a report on the death of U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, the network aired archived video of U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson

MSNBC apologized on Wednesday for mistakenly airing video of another Black congressman while reporting a day earlier on the death of U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings of Florida.

During the report, the network aired archived video of U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi. The report correctly included some still pictures of Hastings.

MSNBC tweeted an apology on Tuesday.

The mistake “never should have happened,” the network’s Hallie Jackson said on the air Wednesday. “We are sorry it did. Congressman Hastings served the state of Florida for nearly three decades and the House and deserves a tribute worthy of that service.”

Hastings, a former federal judge who had been impeached, was first elected to Congress in 1992. He announced two years ago that he had pancreatic cancer. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported on Tuesday that Hastings’ death was confirmed by a longtime friend. 

In this Dec. 17, 2019 file photo, Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., speaks during a House Rules Committee hearing on the impeachment against President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

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The Democratic lawmaker started his career as a civil rights attorney in Florida during the 1960s and 1970s, when he filed segregation lawsuits and a landmark case to desegregate Broward County schools. 

Political reporter Yamiche Alcindor shared news of Hastings’ death on Twitter, noting “Hastings crusaded against racial injustice as a civil rights lawyer, became a federal judge and went on to win 15 congressional elections, becoming Florida’s senior member of Congress.” 

“U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings served his constituents as a civil rights attorney, judge, and Dean of our Congressional delegation,” his fellow Florida Rep. Val Demings tweeted. “He changed the face of politics in FL and brought passion & unwavering dedication to the fight for justice. We are forever grateful for a life well-lived.”

In 1970, Hastings ran to get the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate, which he did not win. However, he showed that a Black candidate could be deemed worthy of such an important job.

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Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) speaks during a debate at a committee meeting July 29, 2014 at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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Seven years later, Hastings was appointed a Broward Circuit Court judge. Three years later, in 1979, President Jimmy Carter appointed him to the U.S. District Court, where he became Florida’s first Black federal judge. 

However, two years later, Hastings was indicted on charges that he conspired to solicit a $150,000 bribe from an FBI agent, and a jury found him not guilty. Still, Congress took up the case, and the U.S. House of Representatives impeached Hastings, and the Senate convicted him and removed him from office. Yet, the decision did not disqualify him from running for or holding future political offices. 

And run — and win — he did. For over 25 years. 

Hastings was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1993, where he remained until his death. Voters will replace Hastings during a special election. However, there is no set time frame for Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis to hold the election. 

Additional writing by Biba Adams

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