Prank you, very much, “The Onion!” The satirical newspaper has spawned so many imitators that genuine purveyors of the news are no longer safe “scooping” their rivals. Just ask Bay Area Fox affiliate KTVU. Last Saturday, during the station’s live coverage of the crash of Asiana flight 214 at San Francisco International Airport, a news reader was handed a memo that supposedly contained the names of the flight crew, which the reporter dutifully recited on air as “Sum Ting Wong,” “Wi Tu Lo,” “Ho Lee Fuk,” and “Bang Ding Ow” (audio after the beak).
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 the error.
The NTSB later released a statement of its own, confirming that an intern at the station had been duped:
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.
Appropriate actions? Like what, for example? As long as there are gullible journalists who, moreover, are racing the clock, mistakes like this are liable to happen.
Just yesterday, it was reported in this space that a “punny” headline in the Chicago Sun-Times pertaining to Flight 214 raised the hackles of the Asian American Journalists Association. Presumably the AAJA hasn’t gotten wind of this more egregious spoof.
Update: According to CNN (h/t Larry Elder), the NTSB has confirmed that the intern who disseminated the fake crew names was a summer employee for the government agency, not KTVU, as indicated earlier.
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