KTVU’s epic Asiana 214 fail: Ho Lee Fuk, Sum Ting sure is Wong!
A Bay Area local news anchor, along with much of her newsroom, was bamboozled into reporting fake names of the four pilots aboard Asiana 214, the ill-fated flight that crashed upon landing at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) last Saturday.
But it turns out that KTVU, which touts itself as “first on air and on every platform in all aspects of our coverage… [and] 100 percent accurate,” fell victim to a big time semi-racist prank that neither producers nor anchor caught.
Reading slowly and deliberately as if to get the pronunciation just right, co-anchor Tori Campbell identified the four pilots as “Sum Ting Wong, Wi Tu Lo, Ho Lee Fuk and Bang Ding Ow.” Making matters worse, the four names were displayed on screen as they were read aloud.
According to KTVU, it was only reporting the names verified by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). In an on-air apology issued about 15 minutes following the erroneous broadcast, the same anchor said:
“Earlier in the newscast we gave some names of pilots involved in the Asiana Airlines crash. These names were not accurate despite an NTSB official in Washington confirming them late this morning. We apologize for this error.”
“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,” KTVU president and general manager Tom Raponi said. “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.”