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Monday, July 15, 2013

KTVU apologizes for broadcasting racist, fake Asiana pilot names

One of the most basic, and crucial practices in journalism is fact checking.

Well, the news department over at KTVU-TV, a television news station in California, made a huge fact checking error during their noon broadcast on Friday after they claimed to have learned the names of the four pilots on board of the Asiana flight that crashed in San Francisco last Saturday.

The four names that were given to the station were: Captain Sum Ting Wong, Wi Tu Lo, Ho Lee Fuk and Bang Ding Ow. After a first read, viewers noticed that these names create a racially insensitive joke sentence. Watch the live broadcast below. 

However, according to KTVU, they contacted the National Transportation Safety Board who confirmed that the four names were correct. The confirmation was made by a summer intern for the NTSB.

The NTSB released a statement Friday night to apologize for the name confirmation error.
 "A summer intern acted outside the scope of his authority when he erroneously confirmed the names of the flight crew on the aircraft. The NTSB does not release or confirm the names of crew members or people involved in transportation accidents to the media. We work hard to ensure that only appropriate factual information regarding an investigation is released and deeply regret today's incident. Appropriate actions will be taken to ensure that such a serious error is not repeated,” the statement said.

KTVU also issued an apology on their website for the mistake.

“We made several mistakes when we received this information. First, we never read the names out loud, phonetically sounding them out,” the television station’s statement said. “Then, during our phone call to the NTSB where the person confirmed the spellings of the names, we never asked that person to give us their position with the agency.”

Despite the apologies, Asiana Airlines announced on Monday morning that they will sue the San Francisco TV to “strongly respond to its racially discriminatory report" that disparaged Asians, Asiana spokeswoman Lee Hyomin said, via a report.


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