Epic KTVU Fail: Anchor Reports Pilot Names Including ‘Sum Ting Wong’ and ‘Wi Tu Lo’

Chris Ariens, Media Bistro, July 12, 2013

On today’s Noon newscast on KTVU, the station claimed it had “just learned the names of the 4 pilots on board” Asiana flight 214 which crashed last Saturday. But the station was given bad information that made it all the way into the newscast. If you read the names it becomes immediately clear this is a joke, which went unnoticed by the newsroom, producers and the anchor.

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About 15 minutes later the station corrected its mistake, but claimed an NTSB official had confirmed the names.

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.

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The NTSB has released a statement saying a summer intern “acted outside the scope of his authority” and mistakenly confirmed the fake names for KTVU Friday morning:

The National Transportation Safety Board apologizes for inaccurate and offensive names that were mistakenly confirmed as those of the pilots of Asiana flight 214, which crashed at San Francisco International Airport on July 6.

Earlier today, in response to an inquiry from a media outlet, 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 crewmembers 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.

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The AAJA responds: “Those names were not only wrong, but so grossly offensive that it’s hard for us at the Asian American Journalists Association to fathom how those names made it on the broadcast.”

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