Representatives of the Asian American Journalists Association sat down with officials at Bay Area station KTVU over the weekend to figure out how racist mock names of Asiana pilots (Capt. Sum Ting Wong, Wi Tu Lo, Ho Lee Fuk and Bang Ding Ow) ended up on a newscast.
YouTube video of the “blooper,” by the way, was taken down after KTVU claimed copyright infringement.
The Asian American organization didn't get to the bottom of things — no names were named — but it did find out some pretty disturbing things:
The group says in a statement that …
… multiple people saw the names, according to the station, but did not provide a number. But the station said people from diverse backgrounds saw the names.
The real names of two of the pilots of flight 214, which crashed at San Francisco International Airport July 6, killing two teens planning to attend summer camp in L.A., were already widely circulated and had even aired on KTVU itself.
Asked how journalists at the station could have missed this, KTVU officials responded, according to the organization, with this:
KTVU had previously reported the real names of two of the four pilots on board Flight 214. KTVU described what happened here as a total breakdown of the process.
The broadcaster at first blamed an intern at the National Transportation Safety Board, saying that the NTSB “confirmed” the names.
The NTSB later said an intern with no business taking media calls had indeed somehow been reached and, in an attempt to be helpful, said yes to a set of names with which he was unfamiliar. A spokeswoman for the board, however, emphasized that the names originated with the station.
So who, exactly, “originated” them? KTVU is not saying.
According to the AAJA:
KTVU said it was still retracing its steps and declined to share specifics as to where it got the names. It said it is still talking with staffers to determine how the error occurred.
We think the station is hoping we'll forget.