msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 2/24/2009 8:48:51 PM ET 2009-02-25T01:48:51

A television reporter in Baltimore was reportedly fired over a doctored YouTube video in which a phrase describing an escaped monkey's scrotum was spliced into a comment about U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

A video from a Fox News TV broadcast was altered to make it appear that Fox personality John Gibson said he would be discussing Holder and his scrotum. The altered video combined an innocuous comment about Holder with a separate snippet referring to an escaped monkey that was identifiable by its "bright blue scrotum."

WBAL-TV, an NBC affiliate, issued a statement Tuesday saying a former employee posted the video on YouTube without the knowledge of the station. WBAL wouldn't name the employee or discuss the employee's departure.

But Fox News, The (Baltimore) Sun and other media outlets said it was one of the station's reporters, John Sanders, who posted the video, and that he was fired.

Sanders was interviewed on Breibart.tv and said he meant the clip as a joke, to be distributed among friends, Broadcasting & Cable reported. He claimed he included annotation in the clip describing it as a spoof and making it clear that Gibson never used those words in discussing Holder. But apparently clips without the annotation made their way around the Internet.

In the original broadcast, one Fox commentator makes a reference to the story about the monkey — and its brightly colored body part — right before the camera cuts to Gibson. Gibson then said he would be discussing Holder and comments he made later in the show.

In the doctored version, Gibson is heard saying, "we're talking about Eric Holder today ... and his," before someone had spliced in the separate snippet of the other commentator using the phrase "bright blue scrotum." The effect is that the reference to Holder appears to flow seamlessly to the comment about the body part.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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