NBC-owned KXAS-TV Dallas conceded that it delayed providing emergency information about a tornado due to its coverage of the Dallas Cowboys Sunday Night Football game--the team topped the arch-rival Eagles in a conference match-up--and apologized for the miscue.
Broadcasters' principal argument in Washington for the value of their service is that it provides life-saving news and information in times of emergency.
"During Sunday night's Dallas Cowboys game, we made a mistake by not immediately interrupting the football game with a Tornado Warning," the station said in a statement. "Although our meteorologists were tracking thunderstorms across the area when the National Weather Service issued a Tornado Warning for Dallas County, we delayed breaking into programming for six minutes."
The station did stream coverage of the weather on its web site and told football watchers where to find it, but it conceded that was not sufficient. KXAS also subsequently reported on the major damage the tornado outbreak caused, including the destruction of local schools.
"When it comes to dealing with severe weather, we know that seconds matter," the station said. "We should have broken into football programming sooner. We apologize and want you to know that we’re doing everything in our power to make sure this does not happen again. We look forward to regaining the trust of anyone we may have disappointed."