Why wait for “Anchorman 2” to hit theaters when we can just tune in to KTVU’s coverage of the Asiana flight 214 crash? Proving some newscasters will literally say anything put on a teleprompter, Channel 2’s afternoon anchor Tori Campbell read four obviously fake—and blatantly racist— names that supposedly belonged to the pilots of the Boeing 777 that crashed while attempting to land at San Francisco’s airport on July 6.
Campbell reported that KTVU had exclusive information on who piloted the ill-fated landing, which left two girls dead and dozens injured, and listed the following names:
• “Sum Ting Wong”
• “Wi Tu Lo”
• “Ho Lee Fuk”
• “Bang Ding Ow.
Ho Lee Fuk, indeed.
KTVU reportedly told Gawker, as well as viewers on air, that the National Transportation Safety Board supplied the station with erroneous names. But a NTSB official later told Gawker, “I don’t know who [KTVU] got that from, but we do not release names.”
KTVU president and general manager Tom Raponi released the following statement: “We sincerely regret the error and took immediate action to apologize, both in the newscast where the mistake occurred, as well as on our website and social media sites. Nothing is more important to us than having the highest level of accuracy and integrity, and we are reviewing our procedures to ensure this type of error does not happen again.”
As columnists Matier & Ross point out, KTVU beat its chest in a promo lauding its own coverage of the Asiana crash, as the TV station’s coverage was apparently first on air, online, on Twitter and Facebook (where every second counts), and first to have reporters on the ground, in the air and interviewing a passenger on the flight.
KTVU News Director Lee Rosenthal reportedly says in the promo: “Being first on air and on every platform in all aspects of our coverage was a great accomplishment, but being 100 percent accurate, effectively using our great sources and social media without putting a single piece of erroneous information on our air, is what we are most proud of as a newsroom.”
And now that’s all been rendered meaningless.
UPDATE: The NTSB has confirmed an intern provided KTVU with the fake pilot names.